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"I have a story for you from this weekend!" my boss said to me with excitement. "I walked into Domino's Pizza on Thanksgiving eve to pick up an easy dinner before a full day of cooking. I hear this tiny little voice say, 'Grandpa, that's the man, the man who does construction.' The grandpa turned to me and said, 'Do you know my granddaughter? She claims you were a guest speaker at her middle school. She really enjoyed your presentation and the (Build Your Future) career trading cards you gave her.'" We made a lasting impression, I thought. Saturday Night Live (SNL) doesn't know what they are talking about; construction is cool, at least this 8th grader thought so! The popular SNL show performed a funny skit the day after my boss and I teamed up to do Career Day at a local middle school in Maryland. The characters poked fun at the industry, particularly general contracting, from how unexciting company names are to describing the bid to construction process in uninspiring terms. This is the challenge we fight every day in the school system. How do we attract students to a career in the construction industry? PullQuote-1228-aAfter eight years of participating in Career Days from elementary school to college, I've learned quite a few things from the students I taught. Below are some tips:  Challenge them: Ask the students how they perceive our industry today and why they think that way. Tell them how it has changed. Know your audience: Understand that not every student will be onboard with a speech on career and technical education so make sure to discuss other careers within our industry such as accounting, project management, marketing, business development, safety and IT. Explain how all departments work together. Make sure they know there is a place for everyone. PullQuote-1228-cBring innovative technology: Show how your company is incorporating new technology such as smart phones, iPads, TVs vs. blueprints, building information modeling and prefabrication. Take it to the next level and show the SMART Helmet or Goggles. It will get them talking! Provide a success story: Tell a true story about someone in the industry who rose to success. Bring handouts: Make sure they have something to take home! Visit byf.org for some great materials. If they are excited enough about the presentation you gave, they are going to want to show mom, dad, grandma or grandpa.  Quotes are from student thank you letters sent to Stacey from a recent Career Day.

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  1. Margaret Thornton | Feb 12, 2018

    Thank you for the tips. I am a CTE Coordinator between our primary/secondary school system and the post secondary community college campus that teaches trade skills. I am going to add the question regarding the students perception and see where the conversations take me. Simple info is always the best.

    Thanks.

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    About NCCER

    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.