Construct Your Future News

Black History in the Trades: Past, Present, and Future

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 23, 2022 2:25:52 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, trades

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During Black History Month, we pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Africans and African Americans who built, and continue to build, the United States.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce tells us that “African slaves were brought to this continent in the early 1500’s to build New York (New Amsterdam at the time), Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC and the entire Southeastern territories. The craftsmanship that was learned through this action gave freed slaves an advantage as we slowly approached the Industrial Revolution. America relied on the crafts learned by Blacks during slavery and passed along to offspring from generation to generation.”

Unfortunately, the history of Black people and construction has not always been positive. Forced to build this great nation as enslaved people, and then later systematically blocked from joining guilds and labor unions, Black craftspeople have nevertheless honed their skills and thrived in the building trades. Read this blog post by AGC of California about Black inventors who helped shape the construction industry. For example, in 1887, Alexander Miles, inventor and businessman, patented an innovative electric mechanism to open and close elevator doors, vastly improving their safety.

The history of Black workers and the labor movement is even more compelling. In 2016, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a report on Black workers, unions, and inequality. The report finds that “(u)nionization rates have been in decline across the board for decades. Despite fact, Black workers are still more likely than workers of any other race or ethnicity to be unionized. In 2015, 14.2 percent of Black workers and 12.3 percent of the entire workforce were represented by unions, down from 31.7 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively, in 1983.”

Why is this significant? The report finds that “(B)lack union workers… enjoy higher wages, and better access to health insurance and retirement benefits than their non-union peers. These benefits persist even after controlling for systematic differences between the union and non-union workforce. Specifically, Black union workers on average earn 16.4 percent higher wages than non-union Black workers. Black union workers are also 17.4 percentage points more likely than non-union Blacks to have employer-provided health insurance, and 18.3 percentage points more likely to have an employer-sponsored retirement plan.”

During Black History Month, we salute the Black men and women who are members of the construction trades. We thank them for their service, their loyalty, and their hard work. We know we’ve got work to do to make our Black members feel genuinely a part of our community. Which is why we join with NABTU (North America’s Building Trades Unions) when they say, “(i)n the Building Trades, we understand the importance of creating economic opportunity and equality for all. That is why we maintain our ongoing commitment to strengthening our grassroots recruitment and retention efforts to foster a more diverse workforce; particularly one that is more inclusive of people of color, women, veterans, and the justice-involved. NABTU will continue doing whatever it takes to dismantle pervasive racism, uplift historically-marginalized communities, and expand middle class workforce opportunities for all backgrounds.”

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A Great Time to be in Construction

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 18, 2022 1:11:26 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction industry, skilled labor shortage, construction outlook, careers, career opportunities

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Everybody loves a good comeback story, and skilled tradespeople are about to have their moment, or perhaps decade, in the sun. If you’ve ever considered pursuing a career in the building trades, NOW is the time!

Construction is booming. 2022 and 2023 are poised to be big years in construction, and, thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) passed in November of 2021, the demand for men and women in the skilled workforce has never been greater. 

The IIJA bill contains an estimated $550 billion in new spending that will be used to improve U.S. roads, bridges, and water systems, and includes funding for projects in public transportation and broadband. Who will be needed to do the majority of that work? You guessed it: skilled tradespeople. President Biden was quoted as saying that the bill will create millions of union jobs all across the country. Plus, new IIJA work aside, the American Institutes of Architects’ Consensus Construction Forecast predicts non-residential construction in the United States will grow 4.6% in 2022, and Oxford Economics and ConstructConnect predict a 9% growth in the residential sector. Those are staggering numbers!

For the women and men who have pursued or are pursuing a career in the building trades, the opportunities are bountiful and almost limitless in the years and decade(s) to come. With boomers retiring from the skilled labor workforce and many younger generations choosing 4-year degrees over trade school in hopes of “more opportunity,” the pool of skilled labor is shrinking, while the need is great and only growing. In the current market, skilled tradespeople are already reaping all the benefits that come with high demand for their unique skills - job security, rich benefits, rising pay, and endless opportunity - and we’ve only scratched the surface of the level of demand to come. 

What’s more, tradesmen and tradeswomen will be doing some of the most meaningful, rewarding, and exciting work in the years to come. They will be, quite literally, building a better America with their hands. Talk about work you can hang your hat on and be proud of! 

If you’ve been considering a career in the building trades, what are you waiting for? The time is now, and the future is brighter than ever before!

We’d love to have you join us. Learn how to get started with a rich and rewarding career in the building trades today.

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Great Work Satisfaction Amidst the Great Resignation

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 24, 2022 12:15:38 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, construction industry, trades, construction outlook, careers

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During the “Great Resignation” of 2021, millions of U.S. workers left their jobs. According to data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 4.5 million workers in America quit in November 2021 alone. What’s more, 74% of full-time workers say they’re planning on quitting their jobs in 2022. The reason? U.S. workers are citing dissatisfaction with pay and benefits, work life balance, and career advancement, but that’s only part of the story. After 2 years of pandemic life, stress levels are at an all-time high, employee engagement is extremely low (34%), and much of the American workforce is feeling undervalued, overworked, and struggling to find meaning and purpose in their jobs and careers.

The million-dollar question being asked by these millions of people: what jobs do the 34% of engaged, satisfied employees have, and how do I get that job, too? 

We’ve got the answer: many of them work in the building trades. A recent report showed that 83% of tradespeople are still highly satisfied in their choice of work, despite all of the hurdles and hardships that the pandemic has imposed on all of us.

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New Year, New Career

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 28, 2021 10:00:00 AM / by Construct Your Future posted in construction jobs, careers, career opportunities

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A new year, a fresh start. Around this time of year, you likely spend some time reflecting on the past year - how you spent it, how you wish you had spent it - and thinking about what you want the year ahead to be like. What are your goals, dreams, and aspirations? What will you change? What will you keep the same? 

While the most common new year’s resolutions revolve around health and fitness - eating healthier, exercising more, etc. - 21% of people listed pursuing a career ambition as one of their top resolutions last year, and for good reason. We spend roughly 90,000 hours, which equates to ⅓ of our lifetime, at work. That’s a lot of time! And yet, in a recent survey, 50% of respondents said they disliked their jobs, citing reasons like unfair pay, underappreciation, being overworked, and no opportunity for advancement.

As you’re reflecting on the past year and your career, does this sound like you? Are you unhappy where you are, and ready to make a change? Are you ready to pursue a new career that is rewarding, fulfilling, and never boring? One that you actually love? Consider joining the thousands of men and women who are pursuing a career in the building trades as electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers, roofers, glaziers, painters, and more!

Year after year, those in the skilled trades report higher job satisfaction than other professions. Why? The building trades offer:

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Benefits of Working Outdoors

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 6, 2021 1:15:31 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, trades, careers

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Did you know that the average American spends approximately 90% of their time indoors, and that nearly 86% of American workers sit all day at their jobs? As humans, our bodies were designed to move often and freely in the outdoors, not sit at desks in artificial light and stale air. Countless studies have proven that few things are better for our health than spending time outdoors, on our feet, in natural light.

This is why a job in the building trades is such a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. As we all know, many construction jobs take place outdoors. For example, tradesmen and women build homes and office buildings, they construct bridges and highways, they maintain the power and telephone grids, and they install the networks and charging stations our electrified homes and cars need. There are exceptions, of course, but even the tradespeople who work indoors more frequently, such as the finishers, spend considerably more time outdoors than the vast majority of the population. The mental and physical benefits are countless. Spending time outdoors:

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What is an Apprenticeship?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 15, 2021 10:04:51 AM / by Construct Your Future posted in apprenticeship, careers, apprenticeships, National Apprenticeship Week

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In Fiscal Year 2020, more than 221,000 individuals nationwide entered the apprenticeship system. Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! They’re a great way to kickstart a fulfilling career, where you’ll make good money, have great job security, rich benefits, and so much more. Not to mention, apprentices take on little to no debt, and actually earn while they’re learning. It’s no wonder there has been a 70% growth in new apprentices since 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

But what is an apprenticeship, exactly? Let’s explore what it is, why it’s so beneficial, and how you, too, can join the ranks and enjoy the good life through an apprenticeship.

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Quality Career Opportunities for Veterans

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 8, 2021 5:26:35 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in careers, military, career opportunities

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Veterans are some of the most dedicated, disciplined, hardworking members of our society. Yet, many veterans struggle when it comes to assimilating to civilian life. One of their greatest worries is being able to find a well-paying, stable career where their unique and valuable experience, skills, and talents can not only be used, but honored and celebrated.

It’s no wonder so many veterans have found great success when transitioning to a career in the building trades. The skills that military service members and veterans are known and revered for, such as their problem-solving ability, strong work ethic, leadership, self-confidence, and handiness, are the same skills and attributes that make a truly great tradesperson. It’s a natural match. Also, the trades offer great pay, work-life balance, job security and stability, and have some of the highest satisfaction rates.

What’s more, the building trades also have a reverence for veterans that few other industries have. For decades, the building trades have been committed to providing quality career opportunities for veterans and helping them successfully transition back into civilian life. There are many initiatives across and between trade groups that help to ease the transition by providing ways for active military to get started in their new career, even before they’ve officially left the military. Examples of popular programs include:

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Starting a New Career Doesn’t Have to be Scary

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 26, 2021 2:14:32 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, careers, apprenticeships, career opportunities

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As a kid, the scariest things in life were the dark and things that lived in the dark: goblins, ghouls, monsters under the bed, and ghosts. As we got older, our fear of ghosts and the dark may have faded but we are still often scared of the new or the unknown.

If you’ve ever considered a major career shift, you know this type of fear well - the fear that comes with not knowing what lies ahead and feeling unprepared. Will it be worth it? What if I fail? What if I’m not qualified or don’t have the training for the job I’d love to have? Is it worth it to start over, when I’ve already invested time and energy in my current career? What If I’m not good at it? And on the other hand, what if you don’t make a change? If you stay in your current career, will that lead to a life of regret? Will you be unhappy and unfulfilled day in and day out? These are big and hard questions. No wonder it feels scary!

But it doesn’t have to be. By entering an apprenticeship to begin a rewarding career in the building trades, most, if not all, of the what-ifs are covered for you:

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Creative Jobs that Pay Well

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 14, 2021 12:32:20 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, careers, career opportunities

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What if we told you that you could create for a living and make good money while doing it? You’d probably be skeptical, and we wouldn’t blame you. But a creative career that pays well, with amazing benefits no less, is possible through a career in the building trades.

“Artist” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of someone who is working on a construction site. Chances are you think of someone with physical toughness, and not a well-trained and delicate hand like that of an artist or artisan.

But now consider what you think of when you hear about someone who is an artist, artisan, or creative. You think of someone who has a talent for making something out of nothing. Someone who is extremely and specially skilled, likely works with their hands, and creates things that are new and original. They have unique talents, and a honed craft. Many of the building trades, such as carpenters, metalworkers, bricklayers, painters, electrical workers, are all known for the very same things, and require the same creative skills to master their craft.

In the building trades, workers get to create all day long, using their hands to build tangible and beautiful objects and systems. There’s true artistry in every facet of their jobs, and at the end of each day they get to stand back with pride and marvel at their masterpieces. Whether it’s a field of solar panels, an architectural sheet metal roof on a museum, the decorative painting on the side of a building, or the metalwork that holds up a skyscraper, the men and women who work construction are building things that are beautiful and lasting.

The pay and benefits for this work are great, too! Not only do tradesmen and women have careers that are fulfilling and rewarding, they earn good wages, and have access to great benefits like health insurance, paid time off, sick leave, unemployment insurance, job security, a pension, and so much more! And as a bonus, the hours are consistent, providing a great work-life balance that allows time for continuing to create outside of work, too.

If you have a creative mind, love working with your hands, but are struggling to find a career that can feed your passions while paying the bills, we encourage you to explore the building trades. Learn more about the trades and how to get started with an apprenticeship today!

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What Does a Trade Job Mean?

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 27, 2021 4:17:47 PM / by Construct Your Future posted in building trades, trades, construction jobs, careers

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You’ve likely heard of someone being “in the trades” or being a “tradesperson.” You may have even heard someone say: “You’d do well in the trades!” But, what is a trade job, and how is it different from other jobs or professions?

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