SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A new school year is just around the corner, and one non-profit is giving students an early look at one option for their future.
Scott Shelar serves as the President and CEO of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, or CEFGA. He says construction companies face trouble hiring for a range of reasons, including demographic challenges.
“Over 50% of our industry are baby boomers, and they’re all retiring right now,” Shelar said. “They’re aging out of the workforce.”
That's coupled with the way parents, students, and high school counselors view the industry.
"The perception that construction is a dead end career, maybe something that you do during the summer until you find a real career. The reality is that there's a lot of money in the construction industry. You can climb as high as you want to climb in terms of a career path."
Shelar says changing this mindset in parents can be especially challenging.
“Students are open minded, you know. They’re interested. A lot of them like the idea of working outside and working with their hands. But a lot of times it’s the parents that say wait a minute you need to go to college.”
In response, CEFGA is hosting weekly virtual sessions to help educate potential future construction workers and their families on the opportunity.
"To answer questions about misconceptions and how do you pursue a career in the industry. Each week it seems to build. I think maybe the word gets out."
The sessions feature new guests and topics each week and allow you to ask questions. Shelar says this is more than just a lecture.
“I think the guy last week had his camera on a selfie stick, and he was walking us around his apprenticeship school to kind of show us what it looks like. So that’s the other cool thing, is it’s not just people talking.”
Ultimately, he hopes the series opens students’ eyes to a rewarding career.
“People who work in the industry they say, ‘You know, I drive by my projects all the time, and it’s just such a good feeling to drive by something that I helped to build.‘”
The series, "Careers in the Skilled Trades: It's Not What You Think" airs live every Tuesday at noon.
You can tune in by going to their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
No registration is needed to attend these free sessions.