This blog was written by Micah Loveless, Digital Services Manager at Master Builders of Iowa (MBI.) Master Builders of Iowa is a commercial construction association that serves as Iowa’s building chapter for the Associated General Contractors of America
Preparing students for successful futures has long been championed as one of the most pivotal roles for educators and parents alike; that is, after all, the purpose of education. We are now beginning to recognize, however, that preparing young people for successful futures looks much different today than it did even a decade ago.
This has proven to be especially true here in the state of Iowa, where our commercial construction contractors boast some of the most lucrative job opportunities in the entire workforce, yet most young people are oblivious to them. To solve this, Master Builders of Iowa has launched an initiative that is designed to, among other things, tackle the lack of knowledge of opportunities in the construction industry among influencers of young adults, namely parents and educators.
This workforce campaign has two components, one a career information website called BuildIowa.org, and the other a promotional week, which we have dubbed ‘Construction Week,’ taking place the first week of October every year. The idea behind this is to designate a period of time for our industry to work together to bring awareness of our available career opportunities and educate those outside our line of work about the realities of what life is really like in our world. We are now celebrating the success of our very first Construction Week, and it is those realities that are surprising people, in a good way.
During this week, through a network of several dozen participating contractors, we were able to bring our message to tens of thousands of students, parents and educators. We collectively put ourselves in a position to communicate to them a new perspective of commercial construction careers. We were able to convey just how many options exist for young people to enter the industry, whether it be an apprenticeship, community college, four‐year university or direct workforce entry. In addition, many were surprised to find out just how willing the industry is to train and equip new workers, with the most important skills needed being a positive attitude, good work ethic and a willingness to learn. Last but not least, we made a point to highlight the great financial benefits that come with starting your career off with a good paying job and zero debt.
With our first Construction Week in the books, and many more to come, our next phase involves strengthening our relationships with the education community, which will allow us to take a more direct role in connecting open opportunities with workforce‐ready young people.
Our industry and economy have shifted, which means the preparation of our young people needs to shift as well. That is our focus.