The building industry in the Twin Cities is at a pivotal point in history. As construction is the second largest Gross Domestic Profit (GDP) driver in the state of Minnesota, it is critical that we work together to encourage the next generation to consider the trades as a viable career choice.

Baby Boomers, who have formed the largest portion of our labor force for decades, are retiring at historic rates, creating a great need for the next generation to back fill their roles as laborers and small to medium sized business owners.

Today, high schoolers are oftentimes pushed towards a four-year degree, regardless of their skillset and interests. A stigma has been formed by parents, teachers, counselors and mentors that college is the sole path to success. However, the construction industry offers the unique opportunity for young adults to jump into the work force at a respectable starting salary, without drowning themselves in student debt first.

As members of the construction industry, we have the unique opportunity to encourage this career path and share how our professional and personal lives are supported by the construction industry. Though the task oftentimes feels overwhelming, there are a few key actions that we can take as individuals to create a pattern interrupt and drive a movement.

Start the Conversation

Within the Industry:

Over the last few months, I’ve made a point of talking with my trade partners about the future workforce. The simple question of “Do you have enough laborers to keep up with your upcoming projects” starts a great conversation about the need for more kids to get into the trades. The more we talk to our partners, vendors, builders and developers about this need, the more it is top of mind in their daily lives and conversations with the potential work force. Challenge yourself to have this conversation with two customers a week.

With Potential Laborers & Their Families:

Let’s work to remove the stigma that a four-year degree is the ideal career path for all high schoolers. Talk to your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors about the opportunities that exist within the building industry. Let’s make the trades sexy again! By the time their peers are graduating from college, young adults can have four years of experience in the work force, virtually no student debt, and have the purchasing power to buy a truck, four-wheeler, snowmobile to enjoy their passions!

Become a Guest Speaker

The best way to get high schoolers interested in joining the trades is for them to hear firsthand from our current trade professionals on what encouraged them to get into the trades and how they have become successful. Join the growing list of volunteers willing to represent the industry as guest speakers at trade shows and classrooms around the state. If an opportunity arises in your area, Project Build will reach out to see if you are available to speak. To sign up, contact Dennis Medo at dennis@projectbuildmn.org or (612) 221-9849.

Tell Your Story

Project Build is working to create marketing tools that tell personal stories about individuals in Minnesota who have found great success in the trades. We want to hear your unique story! Use your social media platform to post a picture, video or text about your career path and use hashtags #myconstructionstory and #projectbuildmn. This will create buzz about the possibilities within the trade sector and collateral that Project Build can use to further promote their message.

Follow & Share

Follow Project Build on Facebook, InstagramLinkedInTwitter to get the latest news about the labor force. You can help spread the word by liking, commenting on and sharing these posts. The more the Project Build MN logo is recognized throughout the state, the more the conversation around trades will continue to flourish!

You are the eyes and ears of the construction industry in Minnesota! What are you hearing in the market? We want to learn more about your ideas on ways that we can continue to make a movement and increase the construction labor force. Together, we can make a change and keep the Minneapolis building industry strong for years to come!

Marla Abstetar

Sr. Sales Executive – Builder Channel

Kohler Co.

Marla.Abstetar@Kohler.com

612-231-7731