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Summer camp is a tradition for many young people across the country. For some lucky students, this summer was filled with blueprints, tools and construction skills instead of sports, crafts and swimming.

Several chapters of Associated Builders and Contractors have partnered with schools and community organizations to provide summer learning to young people interested in gaining a competitive advantage in their future career with quality construction skills. With more than 500,000 jobs available in the construction industry right now, creating opportunities for young people to connect with construction professionals and learn career-ready skills is essential.

In New Castle County, Del., middle school students learned technical skills at the Build Your Future! Construction Technologies Camp. While these young campers won’t be repairing condensers or framing out a house when they graduate, they do get entry-level instruction in carpentry, welding, sheet metal, HVAC systems and plumbing. ABC of Delaware played a huge part in supporting the camp by providing materials and supplies.

With many high school students already convinced that college is the only option after graduating, industry organizations are focusing their construction career exploration activities at the middle school level. ABC of Delaware also has partnered with other industry groups to develop the Governor’s Construction Career Expo, where an entire day will be focused on middle school students.

This July, the ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter hosted a weeklong camp for high school girls to explore the construction trades through hands-on learning. By working on a project that included electrical wiring, carpentry and mechanical systems, as well as learning about careers from industry veterans, the young women gained valuable insight into what it takes to be a successful construction professional. The ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter partnered with the local chapters of the Construction Specifications Institute and the ACE Mentor program to recruit nearly 40 volunteers to support this year’s camp.

In Louisiana, high school students spent their summer getting paid to go to school where they can extend their learning through the Jump Start program, a state career and technical education initiative supported by the ABC Pelican Chapter in Baton Rouge. In addition to getting paid to participate, students are expected to receive industry-recognized NCCER certifications in fields such as electrical and carpentry. With these credentials, students can go directly to employers and immediately validate their skills and learning to get a high-quality job and continue their education in the field.

By learning how to create things with their hands and gaining valuable exposure to the sights and sounds of the construction industry, all of these students are setting themselves up with a competitive advantage. The national office of ABC has developed the ABC CAREER System, a comprehensive suite of tools, tactics and branding messages to recruit more people into the construction industry. Included in the ABC CAREER System are best practices and implementation guides for developing construction summer camps.

For more information about these programs or how to access the ABC CAREER System, contact Mike Glavin at glavin@abc.org.

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