Fewer schools offer construction programs

The number of high school and community colleges that offer construction programs is decreasing compared with a generation ago, according to USA Today.

"The focus is on getting that young person college-ready," says Don Whyte, president of the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Reportedly, fewer students are taking vocational classes even if they are available at schools. The situation wasn't helped by the recession, which led to 2.2 million job losses in the construction sector and bruised the industry's image regarding stable employment.

To combat this problem, construction officials say they are visiting high schools to garner interest in construction careers and working with community colleges to develop more training courses. Construction workers average about $40,000 to $57,000 in annual earnings, and managers can earn more than $75,000.

In Fairfax County, Va., 175 students took construction-related vocational classes in public schools this year, which is about a 30 percent decrease compared with eight years ago.

At Edison High School in Springfield, Va., most of the students in a construction technology class are using the experience as a foundation for future careers in engineering. However, some plan to follow the construction career path.

Senior Alvon Brown plans to become a heating and air-conditioning installer and repairman after receiving a two-year college degree. He points out that his mother received a master's degree in psychology three years ago but has yet to find work.

"Even if you have a degree, it doesn't mean you're going to be successful" Brown says.

Date : 12/5/2012