Construct Tomorrow continues to grow

The Building Trades were out in force last week during the two-plus-day event Construct Tomorrow down at the DECC, making their pitches to high-school students about how these careers can be rewarding in a wide variety of ways.
And an open house, which is held on te eve of the two-day event, reportedly had hundreds of people attend, sharply up from last year’s open house. Parents who want to learn more about their kids’ interests and those from the general public who are curious about the trades are welcome to attend the open house.
Many of the unions had apprentices working with the kids, who came from schools around the area to learn more about their options.
Having apprentices be the front-line contact for high-school students can help kids visualize themselves in these positions, said Barry Blazevic, manager of operations at the training center for the  Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Training Center.
“It’s been fun to watch,” said Eric Osterman, a third year apprentice who was showing students how to attach PVC pipes together. “Some of the kids are really engaged and bring a lot of questions. You can tell when they’re interested.”
With virtual reality stations as well as hands-on opportunities to try out tricks of the trade, the event has a little something for everyone. The I-beam that students can try walking on gets a lot of attention, said Brian Nelson, the apprenticeship coordinator for Region B of Ironworkers Local 512. “You can tell the kids who gravitate toward it — they’re the ones who like to get the photos,” he said. “But their friends need to stop telling them to jump.”
Nelson said the event has gotten bigger and better every year, and it shows through increased attendance as well as improved booths from participating unions and apprenticeship programs.
Construction jobs have been strong over the past 10 years as state policies and a booming economy have helped fuel growth.
According to the state Department of Economic Development Employment Outlook, construction jobs are expected to grow by almost 9 percent over the next six years.
In addition, DEED says that over the past year, construction has grown faster than any other sector. As baby boomers continue to retire, trades will
Families are often an entry point into the trades, and Jessica Evans is no exception. The first year apprentice with the Plumbers talked to students as they went through the stations. She attended college for a time and then worked odd jobs until she got some inspiration from her brother, who is a Millwright, to look at the skilled trades.
“We’ve had a good response from the kids,” she said between waves of chattering students.

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