Creating Ladders Into Industry for High Schoolers

Getting young people interested in careers involving manual labor is a challenge being faced by many sectors, not just the building trades. For examples, the RV sector is once again booming but manufacturers are finding a severe shortage of skilled workers to fill positions. To help alleviate the talent crunch, some manufacturers have started working with their local high schools to develop curriculum that will create a skilled worker pipeline.

I’ve often wondered where the similar pipelines for the building trades are. There are more and more college programs for facility management, from the community college level on up. And there are some apprenticeship programs, such as at universities, that create their own internal pipelines. But not too much news has crossed my desk regarding getting high school students (and younger) excited about the building trades and facilitating their career path.

Today, however, I learned about HBI (Home Builders Institute) that has exactly the kind of program I’ve been wondering about. Among several initiatives, they help to “influence career and technical education in high school, college and university programs nationwide.” They provide young people guidance on trades like brick masonry, HVAC, solar installation, plumbing, and on. And recently they aligned their Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training program with STEM curriculum. 

Granted, HBI is squarely focused on the residential market, as their name implies, but the skills would be highly transferrable or at the very least lay a solid foundation to pique interest and open kids’ eyes to good paying jobs where they’ll be in demand.

If I’ve simply been looking in the wrong direction and the nation is bursting with these kinds of trades programs at the high school and younger level, please let me know!

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