Like a lot of other industries, the construction trades are facing a workforce shortage. The Construction Leadership Council created a recruiting event called Draft Day to pair up high school students and local companies. And it’s already paying big dividends.
Pam Mohler is the Director of Member Services for the Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio, “We know there’s a shortage of workers but there is not a shortage of great kids coming out of area high schools.”
And that’s what sparked the idea for Draft Day. Pam says the event drew dozens of local students this spring, “We needed to connect young people graduating and beginning a career with great careers available in our region.”
More than 20 students who were at the Draft Day event are now working in the industry. 18-year-old Devondre Prince is one of them. He started as soon as he finished his senior year.”Graduation was on a Saturday, and I started work that Monday.”
Devondre is now an apprentice carpenter for Rudolph Libbe. Pam says he gave up an important opportunity to get his career started,”He sacrificed the senior year district track meet to come to the event. He was expected to do very well at districts. But as he said, he will not be a track star after high school. He said I want to be a carpenter. He took a big leap of faith, and it paid big rewards for both Devondre and Rudolph Libbe. ”
Devondre is part of the Rudolph Libbe crew working on the new First Solar facility, “When I went to PENTA Career Center my sophomore year. Ever since then I knew I wanted to be a carpenter, and PENTA really helped make that happen too.”
The apprentice programs are critical to companies like Rudolph Libbe. Brian Wingate is a Project Superintendent for the construction firm, “We need to train apprentices so we have a solid workforce for years to come.”
Brian points out that these are good paying jobs with benefits that provide long-term careers. “You start as an apprentice and work your way up until you top out in the mid to upper $20/hour range depending on your trade. You can even reach the $30/hour range. You also will be building a pension, retirement. It’s a good way to make a good living and support a family.”