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June 25, 2009

Educating tomorrow’s construction workforce

By DAN KLUSMAN
MBA of King and Snohomish Counties

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Klusman

The construction industry is looking to add 1 million jobs by 2012 nationwide. Nevertheless, today’s school programs focus less on construction-related careers than ever before.

Through innovative, hands-on programs that couple real life experiences with education, the Master Builders Career Connection — a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, preparing and recruiting youth for the local construction industry — is aiming to curb that trend by providing educational training programs for students.

“There is nothing better than helping someone see opportunity in his or her life,” said Cathy Feole, executive director of the Master Builders Career Connection. “Through one-of-a-kind programs like Charlie’s House, kids get to learn the benefits of construction jobs hands on.”

The 9-by-11-foot Charlie’s House is a mobile model home used to teach teenagers the ins and outs of residential building. The teens have to consider everything from wires to windows as they build the home.

Photo courtesy of MBA of King and Snohomish Counties
The Charlie’s House program was initiated in late February at the Puget Sound Skills Center in Burien.

Other Career Connection programs include internships, craft skill training, speakers series, and regional construction events such as the Construction Challenge and the Construction Carnival.

“Our goal is to make connections between future workers and residential construction companies by promoting the great opportunities in our industry, preparing students to enter the workforce and recruiting qualified individuals into residential construction,” Feole said.

In 2008, the Career Connection reached an estimated 1,500 youths.


Dan Klusman is communications director at the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.



 


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