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Focus on the Future

 

There is a serious need in the construction industry to actively plan for the future and how we anticipate addressing the shortage of skilled workers.

It’s no secret that this industry is starved for qualified people to fill many types of roles, such as laborers, technicians, project managers, estimators, and more. Many construction companies are having to turn work away because they simply don’t have project teams on the bench ready to take on the next job. As an industry, we are making strides to
encourage more people to choose construction as their career path. MW Builders has taken this challenge head on through many avenues, such as a expanded intern program, education efforts with high school counselors, and working with nonprofit
organizations focused on teaching young students construction trades.

Providing a New Path
YouthBuild KCK is an organization that focuses on helping people ages 16-24 who were not successful in the traditional education environment. This program helps these young trainees gain exposure to the building trades. Spark Bookhart from YouthBuild KCK states, “You can learn English by writing reports or reading books, and you can learn math in an academic world. For some of our youth, that’s not the path that works for them. As an official pre-apprentice program, we can provide this by helping them learn through the built environment.”
Bookhart adds, “A long time ago, people learned about the trades through their family — typically their dad or their grandfather. Today, we have very few people who come to our program who have even had exposure to these viable career paths. It’s important to partner with companies like MW Builders so that they can get that exposure.” Through YouthBuild KCK, students are able to do some physical labor and learn how to read drawings. Then they are able to work with companies like MW Builders to get these students onto jobsites and bring those drawings to life. Spark said that about half of their students seek to work in the trades after the program is over, providing them a new career path they might have never considered.

Mentorship and Hands-On Training
SkillsUSA, a national student organization founded in 1965, has been focused on representing, promoting, and educating students on the importance of trade and industrial education. Recognizing the need to affect change in our community and to encourage people to study a trade, MW Builders has been actively involved in providing industry support to Belton High School’s CTE program — specifically with their SkillsUSA Teamworks Competition team. Since 2014, we have been able to facilitate hands-on training utilizing our own skilled workforce. MW Builders, along with other industry partners in the area, work together to help students develop specific knowledge and experience while honing their craft in various trades including carpentry, masonry, and metal framing. In addition, we have participated in mentorship programs aimed at developing students’ abilities to work as a team.

“The results of our partnership have not only increased our bond with the community, but it has also resulted in a successful school program and has sparked a love of the trades in many of the students. I have heard on multiple occasions that students who were not planning to attend college are now going to school and majoring in engineering and construction,” said Jason Oldham, Vice President of Operations for MW Builders.