techdirections - May 2017

‘Build Your Future’ Promotes Construction Careers At Local, State, And National Levels

Amy King 2017-05-04 00:26:33

SINCE 1997, NCCER’s Build Your Future (BYF) initiative has focused on promoting construction careers to communities throughout the country. What started as a satellite teleconference broadcasted to more than 300,000 students among nearly 4,000 schools has become the industry’s source for career education, recruitment, and image enhancement resources. As part of BYF’s efforts to recruit the next generation of craft professionals on the local, state and national levels, the initiative offers an array of resources that can be utilized by industry and educators. This includes support for local career day events, state partnerships and a nationwide scholarship program. In all, BYF has reached over 35 million students since its inception. Construction Career Day Events For 11 years, NCCER and BYF have celebrated construction careers during the month of October, beginning with Careers in Construction Week from 2005-2012 and expanding to Careers in Construction Month in 2013. With the help of BYF, 19 governors proclaimed October as Careers in Construction Month in 2015, and industry and education hosted numerous events to promote construction careers to young people across America. The next goal for BYF is to have all 50 states proclaim October as Careers in Construction Month. In addition to promoting Careers in Construction Month, BYF also supports local career day events throughout the year by providing resources such as best practice profiles and guides to assist in planning a career day. In 2015, BYF promoted construction career opportunities at 11 career fairs throughout the country, reaching more than 14,000 students, teachers, and parents. At the events, BYF surveyed over 1,000 students and discovered that 92% said the events increased their interest in construction careers, 69% said they view construction careers more favorable as a result of the events and 31% would like to pursue construction careers after attending the events. One successful career day event that BYF has supported over the years is the North Texas Construction Career Day. North texas Construction Career Day In an effort to establish best practices and provide a guide for organizations wanting to host career days, BYF launched a career day pilot program with the Construction Education Foundation (CEF) of North Texas in 2011 in Dallas. Based on this event, BYF has been able to assist numerous organizations throughout the country with their career day efforts, and the CEF of North Texas event has tripled in attendance from 500 people in 2011 to 1,500 in 2015. Students from throughout North Texas attend the event to view equipment demonstrations, speak with local employers, and visit booths representing various construction professions. Attendees are energetic, energized, excited, and curious. “The synergy created by connecting students with construction vendors, firms, demonstrators, and suppliers allows us to expose all aspects of the industry to our local students,” said Lori Purviance, career day project manager for CEF of North Texas. State Partnerships Together with state partners, BYF develops customized educational and promotional materials to spread the word about construction’s exciting and rewarding career opportunities. Through these partnerships, states can receive a byf.org sub-domain, customized marketing collateral, event promotion, career day planning assistance, logo and branding permissions, and customized, broadcast-ready TV commercials and radio advertisements. Two BYF state partners that have experienced tremendous success are Louisiana and Indiana. Build your Future/ Build louisiana 2016 marks the fifth year of the Louisiana Workforce Commission and BYF’s partnership for construction recruitment and image enhancement in the state of Louisiana. Build Your Future/Build Louisiana uses recruitment videos, craft professional trading cards, posters, bookmarks, construction career paths, brochures, and online resources to introduce students and others to construction careers. Since the Build Your Future/Build Louisiana initiative began in 2011, NCCER training module completions have increased by approximately 94% throughout the state. Additionally, NCCER training level completions within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System have risen by an astounding 145%. The state of Louisiana chose to partner with BYF because, as an NCCER initiative, BYF delivers a comprehensive plan for closing the skills gap. NCCER provides industry recognized credentials with an expansive workforce development program that allows states like Louisiana to train and place individuals, as opposed to only recruiting and promoting. “Our employers have long recognized the value of NCCER’s programming and credentials and have helped spread their adoption throughout the state,” said Curt Eysink, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “The customized marketing materials created by BYF have helped us develop outreach strategies that continue to be effective.” Build your Future indiana In 2015, BYF and the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation partnered to create the Build Your Future Indiana campaign. Build Your Future Indiana is used by a unique collaboration of employers, state agencies, and industry associations to encourage residents to learn about construction careers and training opportunities now emerging in the state. To kick off the new partnership, indiana.byf.org was launched in 2016, and customized promotional materials were sent to more than 1,000 Indiana high schools. Along with these materials, customized presentations, videos, and career day resources were also created for Build Your Future Indiana to promote in schools, meetings, conferences, and career days across the state. In the few short months since Build Your Future Indiana was created, the customized TV commercials have been viewed 1.1 million times, and a Build Your Future Indiana magazine was published. As a result of the promotion for Build Your Future Indiana, the partnership met its initial goal of reaching 20,000 people months in advance. “The partnership between Build Your Future and the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation is yielding great results in Indiana,” said Ali Brown, executive director of the Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation. “We are able to meet a need in the construction industry by connecting schools with student-friendly promotional materials and industry ambassadors. The results so far have been amazing, and we are only getting started.” BYF Scholarship Program A national BYF scholarship program was established in 2014 to provide individuals pursuing construction careers the same opportunities as those seeking a four-year degree. Currently, the BYF scholarship program has more than $350,000 in funds designated to be awarded over the course of five years. BYF funds the scholarship program through interest earnings from NCCER’s reserve fund and contributions from fundraising events. Last year, 54 students received $76,000 worth of BYF scholarships through Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Folds of Honor Foundation, Human Resources Construction Council, SkillsUSA, and Southeastern Construction Owners and Associates Roundtable. Through the BYF scholarship program, $20,000 is donated annually for five years to ABC’s Trimmer Education Foundation, AGC’s Education and Research Foundation, and Folds of Honor for scholarships to individuals pursuing career opportunities in the construction industry. “The idea of providing scholarships to craft and technical students has created an opportunity to expand our scholarship program, which previously focused entirely on undergraduate and graduate students,” said Melinda Patrician, director of AGC’s Education and Research Foundation. “The BYF scholarship has given us a chance to hit the ground running and emphasize that we are part of the solution to the workforce shortage.” For nearly 20 years, BYF has remained committed to promoting construction careers at all levels. From local career fairs to statewide promotional campaigns to national scholarship programs, BYF is helping to build a sustainable pipeline of craft professionals into the construction industry. This article has been republished with permission and was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of The Cornerstone magazine at http://nccercornerstone.org/industry/community-builders/item/205-build-your- future-promotes-construction-careers-at-the-local-state-and-national-levels. At the time this was written, Amy King was the Communications Manager at NCCER. Her role included managing NCCER’s biannual magazine, The Cornerstone, and its weekly blog, Breaking Ground.

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