Colleges and Construction Companies Partnering for the Future of the Construction Industry

We recently told you about the skilled labor shortage the construction industry is facing.  In just a few years, without any proactive change, the shortage will become significantly worse.  This is why many construction companies are looking outside the current labor pool.  Many companies are partnering with colleges to get students interested in a construction industry career, even as early as their Freshman year.

This early partnership is important because there is much in and about the construction industry that just cannot be taught out of a book.  The construction industry is full of different personalities and tight deadlines.  This partnership opens opportunities for students to get real world experience.  Students also have the opportunity to try out different roles.  Some may go in wanting a project manager position but find they would much rather be a superintendent.

Creating a Presence

Construction companies are creating a presence on college campuses.  For example, Middle Tennessee State University has a concrete industry management program.  While students in the program get the classroom learning environment, they also have the opportunity to partner with construction companies.

Partnering with construction companies allows students to learn the important lesson of having strong interpersonal skills.  Since the construction industry incorporates so many different skills and personalities, learning how to communicate with everyone is just as important as the technical skills.

In addition to interpersonal skills, this partnership allows students to do some hands-on work.  The Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business has students building a full-scale project.  This hands-on approach includes students operating a full-size crane to properly learn about crane operations and safety.  Students also receive practical lessons job site injuries and other advanced workshops.  It’s not only students that receive the extra benefit of hands-on experience, but construction companies can “lay claim” to strong students for future employment.

College Education and Construction are Compatible

The problem is not that younger generations have no interest in the construction industry.  Without this hands-on partnership, many do not learn what it is truly like to work in the construction industry.  One-on-one time between companies and students gives a clearer more exciting picture of future possibilities.

Construction companies are realizing this and doing what they can to recruit college students with great incentives.  Some students make $20 an hour doing summer jobs for construction firms.  These companies treat their interns very well.  They know retaining the newer generations is what will fuel the future of the industry.  For example, the Middle Tennessee State University concrete program graduates receive an average of 8 to 9 job offers!

Those in the construction industry that did not go the college route know that it is the real world, hands-on experience that makes the difference in a successful industry career.  When colleges and construction firms partner, students get the opportunity to really discover if this is the right path for them.  So much of the industry just cannot be learned in the classroom.  College graduates and construction are absolutely compatible.  With American society telling younger generations that they need a college degree, the traditionally “degree-less” or vocational industries need to get out there and make their industry attractive to college graduates.  Construction firms are already getting on board with this strategy.  They will soon start to see more young people entering the industry, degree or no degree.

Original source: ConstructionDIVE