The concerns are well-founded. According to CCCC's website (www.constructcareers.org), the raw numbers needed to keep pace with construction workforce attrition in California are very high: Nationally, some 240,000 new construction workers are going to be needed each year for the next decade, with California leading the way. Added to that, California high schools have virtually abandoned vocational track courses, leaving a big gap of ignorance about the benefits of working in the construction industry. Many in the construction field intend to do something about that through education and awareness venues.
Each year, for example, Construction Career Days are sponsored by various construction entities including the highly visible Career Awareness Day in Sacramento, sponsored by AGC, Caltrans, Granite Construction, Teichert Construction, and many others.
This year's April event (the 7th annual) garnered comments from Adrienne Monroe, executive director of CCERF, underscoring the interest of young people in the construction field. In a press release on behalf of AGC of California, she wrote:
The Sacramento event included a variety of hands-on activities for attendees. Granite equipment operators choreographed an impressive heavy equipment demonstration. Caltrans brought several pieces of equipment and the popular driving simulator. The Teamsters set up an obstacle course for students to practice hook-up and maneuvering with wagons. Cement masons and bricklayers encouraged many to grab a trowel or a brick. Laborers had several hands-on opportunities for students including a robotic compaction unit with remote control.
John Franich, vice president of Granite Construction and a past president of AGC of California, was joined by Caltrans Director Will Kempton for a press conference sharing information with students and the media about the variety of opportunities that construction employers have to offer. ...(M)ore than 900 high school students gathered at Granite Construction in Sacramento on April 20th to meet with industry employers, apprenticeship programs and colleges offering construction career pathways. This year 61 percent of students attending were interested in construction careers enough to sign up for follow-up contact with employers, representing a 32-percent increase over the number of students that signed up in 2006.
Other sponsors of the event included the Federal Highway Administration, California Laborers Construction Education Trust, and Sacramento Sierra Building & Construction Trades Council.
Also in April, CCERF provided an Executive Leadership in Construction training program at Pepperdine University. According to Monroe, more than half of the attendees said the program surpassed their expectations. The program is taught by construction industry leaders providing "real-world" experiences trainees can relate to. Next year's program is planned for March 31–April 3, 2008. For more information about Construction Career Day events throughout California, visit www.ccerf.org.