Women In Construction

Five Steps for Recruiting and Retaining Entry Level Talent in the Construction Industry

by Judi Vigna

We are all busy in our careers and personal lives, so finding strategic ways to spread the word about construction industry opportunities is key. Below are five things that you can do with a little time and planning that can increase visibility of the opportunities that exist within the construction industry today.

1. Contact Middle and High Schools for Opportunities to Speak

Identify public, private or charter middle and high schools in your area. Reach out to principals regarding opportunities to speak, such as during an 8th grade parent information night, student vocational information night, or high school career and/or college information event.

2. Tell Your Personal Career Story

Think back to when you were a middle school and high school student. You may have felt uncertain about your future goals yet pressured to identify them. Young people don’t know what they don’t know. They can’t aspire to something that they can’t imagine. They need people to show them the way. By sharing your career story – the gifts, the challenges, the twists and turns, the lessons learned along the way – young people can learn about pathways to explore and career opportunities ahead.

3. Inform and Expand the Knowledge Base

Educate young people on the careers available in your field and at your company. Share with them the careers of others in the industry whom you admire. Talk with students about the different people you interact with daily. Tell students about the jobs, the necessary education, and the number of years it may take to arrive at positions they love.

If you work at a large company, show students an organizational chart so they can see how positions are interconnected. If you work at a smaller company, discuss the different hats you wear and the many projects you manage. Paint a big, exciting, and realistic picture. Help students understand the pivot points to advance their career and income. Be yourself. Be real. Young people will be eager to learn from you.

4. Show Them the Industry

Now that you have inspired them, find a few ways to empower students to want to learn more. Arrange for your company to provide a tour of your office or work site, provide a shadow or mentor opportunity, facilitate a panel discussion with women in the industry across multiple disciplines, or provide a scholarship for a summer internship or an after-school, industry-related enrichment program.

5. Identify and Utilize Your Unique Talent to Recruit, Develop, and Retain the Future Workforce

Your talent is what makes you unique. Identify it. Own it. Share it!

My talent is my ability to use research, collaboration, education, and connection to drive innovation through an integrated process for workforce development. What is your talent? Does your role in the industry allow you to open a door, mentor a student or new employee, create a career pathway, or open discussions for new opportunities? I believe wholeheartedly that if we work together, we can create a new vision of the construction industry and make invisible career pathways visible for a new generation.

Judi Vigna

Judi Vigna is a workforce development consultant and founder of Specialized Career Guidance, LLC. Sign up for her free Construction Resource Guide at www.specializedcareerguidance.com.