Finding qualified workers is a challenge all road builders face. Part of the problem is the perceived image our industry has – many think it’s a low skill, low wage, dead-end career path.
A new website is challenging that image and trying to attract young adults into choosing road building as a rewarding career.
The Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania (CAWP) is offering a free virtual pre-apprenticeship program that allows users to interact with each phase of a virtual highway construction project and learn about the skills needed to be a laborer, operating engineer, truck driver, etc.
The content of the program consists of videos, images and assessment questions that will provide users with a better understanding of the industry and assist with uncovering the skills needed for a career in highway construction.
Part of Future Road Builders is the CAWP Skill Arcade that tests coordination and skills typing rebar, lets users experience the challenges a road flagger encounters on the job, and allows users to operate an excavator. Each game is free and can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device.
Programs that feature game-based learning take a subject and make it fun. The game gives users the experience of being on a construction site, seeing the jobs and understanding what they entail.
After completing the pre-apprenticeship program, which typically takes 90 minutes, users will receive a certificate of completion and be ready to apply for one of several apprenticeship programs in highway construction located in western Pennsylvania.
Over 1,500 students have used Future Road Builders. While the focus is western Pennsylvania, the concept can easily be adapted by other states and associations.
Our industry has a perception problem and a program like this that is designed to educate about the career opportunities, good paying and wages, and opportunities for growth can go a long way to attracting young adults into it.
Our industry is also getting older – 48% of the highway construction industry employees in the U.S. are 45 or older, so we need to attract the younger generation. Using technology and tools they understand will go a long way toward doing just that. When you get a moment, check out FutureRoadBuilders.com and let’s figure out how to get this program in every high school across the country so kids know there are viable alternatives to a four-year university degree.