Promoting the construction industry to New Hampshire youth, the 2016 New Hampshire Construction Career Days event will take place at the Hillsborough County Youth Foundation Center in New Boston on Thursday and Friday, September 22 and 23. In total, more than 50 schools and 1,600 high school students are registered for the event, which has quadrupled in size since it was first held in 2009.
Noting the event is open to both male and female high school students, Catherine Schoenenberger, president of Stay Safe Traffic Products, Inc., one of several major event sponsors, said one goal is to increase the attendance of women and minorities.
“We want to encourage more women in construction,” said Schoenenberger, who is also president elect of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). “Women currently make up less than 10 percent in the industry. While women make less than men for the same work—and we are working on that—you can make very good money in construction and it is not going away.”
Resulting from the collaborative efforts of labor unions, construction companies, school districts, state agencies, trade and professional organizations, the event will feature more than 70 exhibitors. Areas of focus will include careers in heavy equipment, welding, plumbing, carpentry, electrical wiring, surveying and engineering, land clearing, underground utilities, and other construction related jobs. Students will also learn about various secondary educational resources, apprenticeship programs and career training pathways available after high school.
“These kids are involved and engaged at every single booth,” Schoenenberger said. “There are all kinds of challenges throughout the day, and kids can really get the sense they ‘[they] can do this.’”
Students also walk away with a comprehensive career book that details expected wages from each job, educational pre-requisites, and where they will be at the end of an apprenticeship. According to Tracy Untiet, assistant director, Career & Technical Education at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, said they find substantial value in having their students attend the event.
“Students have an opportunity to meet professionals in dozens of Construction related fields as well as trying a variety of tools and equipment that are not often available at school,” she said. “Examples are dump trucks, back hoes, climbing utility poles and rapling trees, and using electrical, welding and construction tools.”
In total, Untiet said they generally bring 100 students each year out of whom roughly 15 to 20 are female.
Having served as president of NH Construction Career Days, a 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit that raises private funds and donations to run the event, Schoenenberger said she is excited at its continued growth.
“NH Chronicle will be here on Thursday and Governors Lynch and Hassan have both attended,” she said. “It’s an event where companies see the value, too, as they expend a lot of resources and personnel. Between their efforts and our sponsors, the event continues to expand. It’s great to see and very rewarding.”