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13th Annual Construction Career Days showcased good-paying jobs to Michigan students

13th Annual Construction Career Days showcased good-paying jobs to Michigan students

HOWELL – The Michigan construction industry held Construction Career Day, a career exploration event designed to introduce students and youth to good-paying jobs and careers in the Construction industry on Thursday, May 6. A partnership among construction businesses, skilled trades organizations, government, and schools, Construction Career Days is free and was held virtually this year to promote safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For many years, Michigan Construction Career Days has been the premier hands-on Construction Career exploration event in the state, drawing thousands of students,” said Michigan Construction Career Days Advisory Board Chair Lee Graham. “It was very important to us that we have an event this year but adhere to the safety guidelines we teach every day.  The online platform allowed us to continue to connect with the students that will make up the next workforce generation, interact with them, and hopefully inspire them to a great future career in the Construction industry.”

Over 1,500 7th-12th grade students from school districts across Michigan took part in the annual event, including hourly sessions from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Students weren’t limited by any geographic boundaries with virtual technology, allowing schools from around the entire State of Michigan to participate. Instructors conducted hundreds of video and chat conversations with industry professionals to ask questions and experience simulations on construction equipment and high-tech devices. In addition to gathering information about all aspects of the construction industry, participants could interact with construction professionals, instructors, and businesses in the industry.

“Michigan Construction Career Days is an excellent opportunity for young people throughout Michigan to engage directly with real industry professionals for a true picture of all the terrific career opportunities in construction,” said Christina O’Brien of Ajax Paving Industries. “Even though we could not have the event in person this year, it is important we continue to showcase to students and others that construction professionals are building, maintaining, and repairing Michigan’s critical infrastructure every day. We are dedicated to making sure students will see that the men and women in the construction industry are truly building Michigan’s future, getting paid good wages while working in a high-demand, highly rewarding career.  And we are proud to use technology to help deliver that message.”

“My favorite part of the MICCD 2021 event was watching my students’ excitement and engagement in learning about a vital industry in our State! My students loved getting to interact through the chat and video calls with professionals in the field. As a teacher, it was great to see my students find importance in topics they learn in my Math, Science, and STEM classes and see content come to life!” said Jessica Curry, an instructor at Laingsburg Middle School.

Construction Career Days is a joint effort of the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee (MASCI), skilled trades unions such as Operating Engineers 324, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Bricklayers, Laborers, and others, as well as construction employers and colleges and universities.

“Pivoting to a virtual space was a creative and interactive experience for the students who participated in this year’s Michigan Construction Career Days,” said the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “Switching traditional career events to online platforms has ensured participants have a safe outlet to participate in opportunities that expose them to industry, occupational and professional information and contacts.”

“Certainly COVID has given us some incredibly unique challenges when it comes to helping students explore career opportunities,” said MISTEM Network Executive Director Megan Schrauben.  “But many of those challenges have been met with some innovative and technically advanced solutions, like Michigan Construction Career Day.  By using an online system, students were able to talk directly to skilled professionals, employers, and colleges, who could answer questions about each career, what skills it requires, and what opportunities were available.  One of the many things that were reinforced this past year was the importance of inspiring the next generation of skilled workforce because we are truly reliant on them for our future,” adding, “It was great to see technology put to such use, and even better to see students connect with these professionals and be inspired.”