ec7770_9582c785a75642caba5725aa3803e248By Kayleen McCabe, Host of Rescue Renovation on DIY Network This Friday I’m hitting the road for a five-day, 1,400-mile trip that can be summed up in one word: Education. Notice I didn’t say trades education, even though the trip might look like one big trades plug: First, I’m heading to Columbus, Nebraska for the SkillsUSA Mid-America leadership conference, where some of the country’s most skilled, up-and-coming talent will learn what it takes to be a leader in school and industry. I will be hanging out with the students, cheering them on and even taking over Build Your Future's Facebook page to geek out about it. Going on Facebook live with a bunch of students who are passionate about the crafts? Check and check. From Columbus, I’m headed to Schuyler, Nebraska. Never heard of Schuyler? Neither had I until I was introduced to local teachers by Dr. Drizzle through her mission to bring virtual field trips into classrooms across the country. She has Skype’d me into many classrooms across the U.S., letting me give a contractor’s view on lessons ranging from math to physical education to English. Teaching the Pythagorean theorem? I chime in about how it’s used when framing out a building.  Teaching simple fractions? I talk about tape measures. I am beyond excited to meet the Schuyler teachers in person and stand in the same room together! It’s no secret, and my weekend plans show it: I’m a huge proponent of the craft professions. In addition to being a licensed contractor myself, I produce videos that put craft resources into the hands of students across the world. So why doesn’t trades education sum up my trip? Because while I love seeing the skills gap narrow each time someone enters the construction industry, it’s not my job to push anyone in that direction. It’s my job to introduce students to our industry – its pay, its perks the growing demand - and trust that they’ll make informed choices about their careers. My generation was placed on a college track – a cultural trend that has led to a severe labor shortage. Rather than fight fire with fire by forcing the pendulum in the other direction, let’s all do our part to tell the emerging workforce about everything construction careers offer. From there, the stats – and our passion – will do the pushing. But first: ROADTRIP. cicm-2016cropped October is Careers in Construction Month! To learn more or get involved, visit

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.