Program Proves Beneficial for Students

I know, I know. Why would anyone want to explore a career in construction in this economy?

Yes, times are tough for the construction industry, particularly residential construction. But fact is, we will always need people to build “stuff”––buildings, roads, bridges and more.

And how we build that stuff is requiring a different caliber of skills and experience than ever before. With advancing technology, green building, and customers wanting more sophisticated projects than ever before, the construction jobs of tomorrow need to be filled with the best and brightest of today.

In order for those best and brightest to get the education and training they need to succeed, it is critical to expose them to career opportunities, emphasizing the importance of math and science and encouraging them at a young age.

Michigan Construction Career Days is meant to do just that. It’s the perfect meld of hands-on learning and higher learning exposure. The key to its success is the partnership among the K-12 system, higher education, skilled trades and actual professionals within the construction industry.

Last year, more than 2,000 middle and high school students from throughout Michigan had the opportunity to operate heavy machinery and participate in demonstrations of all things construction from walking on red iron beams to three-dimensional laser scanning to actually framing a house. Throughout the day, the importance of advanced training and education were emphasized, with representations of more than five colleges and four universities, six skilled trades apprenticeship programs and 30 construction businesses speaking with students about the relevance of their coursework and the importance of learning.

This month, title sponsor Operating Engineers Local 324 will host the second Michigan Construction Career Days at the Ingham County Fairgrounds in Mason.

Even more students, this year 2,500, will connect with businesses, legislators and experience hands-on learning. Certainly not all of them will pursue a career in construction, but the significance of the day lies not only in ensuring the structures of tomorrow will be built by tomorrow’s best and brightest workers, but in business coming together with education to show students why learning matters.

Brindley Byrd is the executive director of the Capital Area Construction Council, which provides workforce development solutions to Michigan’s construction industry, online at








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