On Thursday, October 26, hundreds of business owners, architects, contractors and others are expected to attend the Annual “Excellence in Construction” Awards, presented by the Associated Builders and Contractors, New Hampshire/Vermont Chapter (ABCNHVT).

At the event in which there are seats for 50 teachers and students at no charge, ABCNHVT’s Jennifer Landon said the purpose behind it is threefold.

“It’s an opportunity to promote our industry, improve our image, and communicate to the public about the importance of the construction industry and the value construction professionals provide to our economy and all of society,” she said.

For ABCNHVT’s new president Josh Reap, the event highlights construction industry needs.

“The mounting shortage of skilled construction workers has acted as a drag on the ability to get things done,” he said. “Every contractor I talk to says their biggest problem is finding people and that is backed up by the statistic that we have the nation’s fourth lowest construction-related unemployment rate. The average age of a New Hampshire construction worker is 45, so anyone entering the industry now will find years of stable employment.”

In discussing the role of ABCNHVT, he said a big part of what they do is forge partnerships with local schools and industry allies “to get the word out” about the need for people in the construction industry today. He said part of their job as an agency is to create opportunities for career professionals to tell their story to students about what it is like in construction and how it has provided both opportunity and a pathwnay to a good life.

“There are presently 500,000 jobs that are ready to be filled right now in the American construction industry,” he added.

In hosting the event on October 26, Reap said it is an opportunity for them to recognize the outstanding projects of the year among ABCNHVT membership. He said the event also serves to help invited high school students and CTE professionals learn more about careers in construction.

“We will have a special feature on Careers in Construction to raise awareness of the opportunities that exist for those individuals that want to work with their hands and minds,” he explained. “As the leading representative of the industry, ABC works to promote careers in construction with a focus on building the individual to reach their fullest potential.”

In looking ahead, Reap said he hopes the work performed by ABC as a whole can help to disentangle pervasive myths about the construction industry.

According to Reap, there are many myths and misinformation that surround the construction industry that prevent many students from pursuing a career in it.

“Construction is a pathway to the middle class that doesn’t carry mountains of student loan debt,” he said. “Today’s construction worker is highly skilled and has the potential to earn a great paycheck.”

He cited for the average yearly salary for a Pipefitter in New Hampshire as one example.

“The annual average salary is around $61,000—and the training is often paid for by the employer, who puts the student through a craft course or apprenticeship program,” he said. “Construction today involves a lot of cutting edge technology and math, which is a far cry from the image of a dirty low wage job people sometimes still think when they thought of construction.”

To learn more about the Associated Builders and Contractors, New Hampshire/Vermont, visit www.abcnhvt.org.