- In Minnesota, a new application from the Construction Careers Foundation (CCF) seeks to bring young people from middle school through their early 20s into the construction industry.
- The Construction Trades app, which is available through the Apple and Google Play stores, seeks to engage young people based on how they receive and share information, said Sarah Lechowich, senior director of the foundation. The app’s recent launch is intended to bolster efforts from the foundation on its Construction Career Pathways website to attract and connect potential construction workers with skilled apprenticeship programs in Minnesota.
- The application is only in Minnesota, as that is where the Foundation is based. When users reach a threshold where they may be prepared for an apprenticeship, the app can connect them with nearby opportunities.
Many young people prefer notifications as a means of receiving information, for both texts and news alerts. Once a student or potential worker has filled out their preferences and information, the app can ping them and bring their attention to a local opening in an apprenticeship, Lechowich told Construction Dive.
The key to finding potential skilled trades workers, Lechowich said, is to meet them where they are and find ways to communicate with them that make them comfortable. To do so, the CCF contacted every public school in the state of Minnesota as well as several private schools, he said.
Teachers point students that show interest or proclivity toward a construction career to the app. The technology is an addition to efforts from the foundation at career fairs and job days. The foundation also sends apprentices to schools to give students a quick, hands-on experience.
“That’s the whole reason the app was designed — to meet youth where youth are,” Lechowich said.
The coronavirus has slowed in-person demonstrations and chances to connect directly with students through classrooms, but the CCF will be pushing for more downloads in the fall, according to a spokesperson. The next phase of the app will include direct messaging capabilities between tradesmen and women and recruits.
The CCF app is in line with similar tech-focused promotions in other areas of the country. For instance, the Associated General Contractors of California launched an interactive website last fall designed to urge high school and college-age Californians (and their parents) to consider an apprenticeship, training or college construction program.
The Build California campaign's mission is to meet young Californians on their terms, according to AGC of California Vice President of Workforce & Community Development Erin Volk, and to sell construction as fun, stable and well paying.
“We knew that we needed to reach and engage Gen Z ... how they like and best receive information, in a way that is technology forward, interactive and easily accessible on their phones and other mobile devices,” she told Construction Dive.