Construction Training for High School Students

Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 13, 2015 – The Kent Intermediate School District is preparing to launch Spring Group Two of the Explorer Group – An Insider Look at the World of Work – a program aimed at providing high school students an opportunity to job shadow a professional in a field they plan to pursue at a college/university level. Students in the program have the opportunity to shadow a professional in the fields of manufacturing, construction, engineering or information technology. The program is open to any student interested in getting a hands-on look at a modern work environment.

Per the article, “Labor Shortage May Threaten Construction Gains,” published in Forbes on February 20, 2013, “There’s a growing divide manifesting between demand related to burgeoning construction activity and the number of folks equipped to fill certain spots. Hundreds of thousands of workers left the field in the downturn, changing career paths or retiring altogether.” More concerning to CD Barnes Construction though is the future of the labor force. The article continues, “Young adults haven’t clamored to enter the field and even for the ones that have, training programs have shrunk or evaporated altogether.”

In an effort to do our part in preparing the next generation of construction workers and entice current high school students into considering construction as a career choice, CD Barnes Construction is participating in two local initiatives. The first of those two initiatives is the Explorer Group mentioned above. On April 15, 22 & 29 CD Barnes Construction will be hosting a Junior level student from Catholic Central. The student will job shadow a few employees in various departments of CD Barnes. The goal will be for the student to gather an overview of the industry, day-to-day operations for specific departments, the types of positions available and requirements for successful employment.

The second program in which we are participating is Career Quest, a hands-on career and college readiness event for middle and high school students which will be hosted April 28, 2015 at Devos Place. Over 6,000 students are anticipated to attend this first-time event in which the Associated Builders and Contractors has an integral role – a role they are sharing with local contractors.

Career Quest 2015 students will:

  • Explore key West Michigan industries expecting solid job growth into the near future: manufacturing, construction, engineering or information technology.
  • Make connections between the classroom and the workplace by interacting with technology, tools and professionals from many different fields.
  • Discover workplace opportunities available to students like internships and job shadow opportunities.
  • Engage with college representatives to understand how post-secondary education plays a role in a career ladder–underscoring the importance of college AND career readiness.

“As a local contractor and employer we are pleased to see that the Associated Builders & Contractors of Western Michigan along with the Kent Intermediate School District are working so diligently with current high school students to inform them of future career possibilities,” stated Todd G. Oosting, executive vice president of CD Barnes. He continued, “As baby boomers continue to retire, the need for quality workers is only going to increase and the sooner we can begin training our future workforce, the better the outcome for not only the student but also the consumers and employers. CD Barnes Construction is committed to our community and aiding in the education of our youth.”