Alachua, Fla. — As parents, we want our children to find successful, lucrative careers and as such, we have equated success with a college degree. In reality, a college degree many times means more debt and stress, as well as the inability to find a job. Over-educated and under-employed seem to go hand-in-hand in today’s society. However, there is another option to the academic university path which requires less than a four-year degree but can provide six figure salaries — the construction industry.

Before you disregard the option as not for your child, explore the benefits a craft professional career offers, including high salaries, little to no debt, and a sense of pride and dignity in work. Take for example, Holley Thomas, a 33-year-old project principal quality inspector, now earning three times her starting salary of about $55,000 — in just 11 years in the industry. Or, Boyd Worsham who started as a carpentry helper directly out of high school, worked his way up to vice president at The Haskell Company, and is now the president of an international nonprofit construction education foundation. To read their stories, visit discover.byf.org, a new resource created for parents, educators, counselors and other influencers to discover the career paths available.

“As a former English teacher for 13 years and a mother of two, my experiences have led me to be a true advocate of career and technical education,” shares Jennifer Wilkerson, director of marketing, public relations and Build Your Future at NCCER. “I see a generation of middle and high schoolers thirsty to be part of something bigger and searching for opportunities to succeed. The construction industry provides just this — endless opportunities for people to use their minds and talents to build the world.”

Being a craft professional may not be for everyone, but it is a career for anybody — female, male, student, artist. From an opera singer student now participating in SkillsUSA carpentry competitions to a biology major turned manager of workforce development at a global company, a career in construction gives people the possibility to follow the career path and make a difference in our world.  

“I would ask parents and educators to keep in mind these numbers: 1:2:7. Of every ten jobs available in the United States, only one requires a master’s degree or higher, two require a bachelor’s degree and seven require an associate degree, certification or credential,” states Wilkerson. “Couple this with college debt now at $1.5 trillion, second only to mortgage debt in the U.S., and it should be apparent that it is time for parents and educators to discover all this industry has to offer.”

Recognizing the influence that parents, educators, counselors and other stakeholders have in young people’s lives, NCCER’s Build Your Future initiative is growing to include resources for these populations. To see more of what construction entails, including demand and opportunity, paths to get started in the industry and more, visit the new Discover site at discover.byf.org.

About NCCER NCCER is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit nccer.org or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

About Build Your Future –
Build Your Future (BYF) is NCCER’s national image enhancement and recruitment initiative for the construction industry. Its mission is to recruit the next generation of craft professionals by making career and technical education a priority in secondary schools, shifting negative public perception about careers in the construction industry and providing a path from ambition, to training, to job placement as a craft professional. BYF provides a number of resources to assist industry, education and military organizations in achieving these goals. For more information, visit byf.org.

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