Careers in Construction

I just finished an article in the September/October issue of Building Indiana by Brad Benhart, Associate Professor of Practice at Purdue University’s School of Construction Management. A quote in the article resonated with me as it’s been something I’ve been talking to my friends in education about for years. “The message needs to change to all kids should learn skills for a career. College is not for everyone, and our society needs education and training to match the needs of the workers required.”

My perception for years has been that high schools quickly divided students into two categories, either college bound or not. The discussion with those students was then modified to where the college bound students were directed to classes that would get them in the best schools and with the best preparation to do well when they got there, while the goal for the remaining students was a high school diploma. Well, a high school diploma doesn’t get you much anymore. I’m not saying it isn’t important, but if you want to advance in any company, you will need additional education. At a minimum there will be on-the-job safety training, but more than likely, to advance you will need outside training. Whether that is an apprenticeship program in the construction trades or a some form or associate degree from a technical school.

I’ve been pleased in recent years to see a change in thinking in the schools in our area. Many of them are providing technical school equivalency training in high school. Non-college careers are receiving more discussion. Things are improving, but we still have strides to make to end the bias towards college programs. We also need to instill the idea of life-long-learning as a positive thing and requirement for survival in today’s society. When I receive an application from a student who has been through a high school building trades class, they do receive preferential treatment because they have shown an interest and hopefully shown some aptitude for the trades. Unfortunately, this does not qualify them as a Journeyman Carpenter as some of them seem to think. Easterday Construction will help them achieve that goal through apprenticeship training if they are serious about it, but it requires a commitment to additional education on their part.

I don’t think this qualifies as a rant… I’ll reiterate that I have seen progress in recent years. But as per the quote, kids need to learn skills for a career. And if it’s your career, you should be interested in learning all you can to be the best at it you can be. This means education… and Life Long Continuing Education… Never miss the chance to learn and improve.

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