It’s time for innovative policies for construction careers | The Daily Reporter – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2021-10-20 08:09:32 –

John Mielke is President of Wisconsin’s affiliated builders and contractors.

Anyone who attended high school before 1990 can remember that they need to take at least one type of technical education class. There you will learn basic techniques such as cooking, sewing, metal, woodworking, printing and architecture.

The purpose was to expose students to a variety of technical education disciplines and provide insights into career paths that do not require a four-year college degree. As a result, some students had basic skills to get a job and had a good understanding of challenging career areas. At the very least, students have learned skills that can be applied in their daily lives.

Technically educated classes were eventually largely excluded from high school as “university mania” became widespread and the school district found other uses for funding. This has affected many students who would have been better suited for practical and skilled transactions. We all know individuals who say they would have enjoyed a hands-on career. In fact, the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program enrolls a large number of four-year college graduates who have decided to try a real construction career rather than their original field of study.

It’s a problem if two-thirds of new jobs require a technical degree, but half of high school graduates are sent to four-year colleges. According to the University of Wisconsin System Progress and Completion Report, only 65% ​​of new students enrolled in 2014 have a degree. Unfortunately, many parents and teachers expect a four-year college degree to lead to a well-paid job and a satisfying profession for everyone. In reality, we are producing too many college graduates for the high-growth jobs of our economy, like the construction industry. Many have been successful with a bachelor’s degree of four years or more, but others may want to find another way.

Even before the pandemic, the construction industry faced a serious labor shortage, and other industries also struggled to find workers with technical skills. Wisconsin’s affiliated builders and contractors are promoting public policy initiatives to support and improve technical and career readiness in Wisconsin’s kindergarten-to-high school systems. These policies allow Wisconsin to offer more career options to young people while helping employers fill demand-driven professions.

This policy aims to maximize workforce participation through career preparation initiatives from kindergarten to high school. There are three specific initiatives, each with some tactics. The list includes:

1. Strengthen educational relationships from kindergarten to high school with industry partners. For example, increase the use of industry-based credentials for skill development in high school.
2. Integrate career preparation into all classrooms. For example, you can provide all students with work-based learning before graduation.
3. Create academic and career plans that respect all higher education routes, including the construction industry, especially registered apprentice careers. For example, allow double registration of registered apprentice-related instruction.
We are enthusiastic about these wise policies and look forward to working with various organizations to adopt them.

October is “Construction Month Career”, thanking everyone who builds Wisconsin and thinking about how we can do a better job to promote a good career in the industry. Now is the time. These common-sense policies proposed by ABC in Wisconsin will be of great help in achieving this.

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