The construction industry in Colorado alone will be short 10,000 workers a year through 2027. We are facing an unprecedented shortage and need to begin working now to solve it. As college degrees have become more and more popular, we have seen a decrease in trade and skilled labor throughout the industry. The negative stigma remains high for construction and trade school over a four-year degree.
What most students and parents don’t realize is construction has some of the best opportunities for career growth and salary maximization with minimal debt from student loans as well as scholarship opportunities. The industry has also been working towards a more inclusive jobsite with better consideration for worker’s wellbeing starting initiatives such as Construction Inclusion Week and Women in Construction Week
As part of this effort to reinvent the construction workforce, Haselden has been participating in the Associated General Contractor (AGC) Construction Education Foundation. This program works with high schools around the state to provide career education in construction. Upon graduation, the AGC works with students to secure full time employment or further apprenticeship and secondary education options.
Last summer, the AGC added something new to the program – onsite training! Eligible students signed up to work on a jobsite as a summer intern with participating companies, and Haselden was fortunate to be one of them. Our safety director, Travis Weber, developed a safety plan that allowed certified minors to perform certain tasks on a jobsite. Each minor must have taken an accredited construction course and be safety certified either through the NCCER or the HBCI to be allowed to work onsite. They receive a colored helmet to alert other workers to their status and are paired up with Haselden worker, so they are never alone onsite. Our intern, Ben, made a huge impact on our site. Superintendent Scott McClain stated, “We loved having Ben. He was a huge help and made such an effort to learn. We hope to have him back this summer.”
Providing opportunities for high school students to work on the job allows them to explore career paths before deciding. They build a foundation of construction skills they can then bring to a job or an apprenticeship. In one summer, we have seen the value of this program both for the student and the contractor and are eager to continue. Construction is a career path filled with opportunities and it is crucial we present it to younger generations as a viable option.