The rising cost of college is putting new emphasis on helping young people find alternative career paths that won’t leave them heavily in debt. The 18th annual Arizona Construction Career Days, run by the Association for Construction and Career Development (ACCD), aimed to expose young people to new career options they may not otherwise have considered that do not necessarily require a college degree.
Rosendin, an employee-owned electrical contracting company, offered participating students several hands-on demonstrations with technology that has changed the industry, such as computer modeling and augmented reality. Volunteers from the company’s Tempe, Ariz., office also taught students how to wire a light, fabricate tubes and bend conduit pipe. Rosendin representatives hope that these kinds of experiences will inspire students to consider a career in construction as a viable option for their future.
Nearly 3,500 students and 400 teachers from 130 schools and 12 counties attended Arizona Construction Career Days. Rosendin was one of 66 companies participating in the two-day event, held at the Arizona Army National Guard at Papago Park in Phoenix.
“We were thrilled to have a chance to speak with thousands of young people to demonstrate that a career in construction includes emerging technology for people who like computers, climate-controlled workspaces and new tools that erase any gender differences,” says Mike Greenawalt, CEO of Rosendin Electric. “These events are important because when schools cut vocational programs, it began changing society’s perception of skilled trades and we need people now more than ever.”
Students that visited the Rosendin booth also learned about its apprenticeship programs, which offer hands-on learning while earning a paycheck and attending classes once a week. Out-of-pocket costs for an electrical apprenticeship with Rosendin and the Phoenix Electrical JATC run about $8,000 during a four-year program.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates nearly 60 percent of U.S. jobs will be related to construction in the next decade, yet there is a shortage of qualified workers. The tight labor market has forced companies to offer new perks and paid apprenticeships that will lead to high-paying positions around the state, as well as engage in workforce development initiatives, like Arizona Construction Career Days.
“Construction is an honorable field that rewards the values of dedication, excellence and pride in workmanship,” says Rose Ann Conizales, president of the Association for Construction Career Development, the organization responsible for planning Arizona Construction Career Days. “We thank Rosendin and the 65 other exhibiting partners for supporting this event and demonstrating to young people the successful lives one can have in the construction science field.”