For years, contractors have attempted to mitigate the effects of the construction labor shortage by working to attract young men and women into the trades. This summer, they may get some help from a new television show.
In July, "The Money Machine," a documentary show dedicated to showcasing the benefits of working in the trades as potential career paths for young people, will begin airing on platform JUL-TV. The channel, which is available on Roku devices, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick and similar devices, will air one episode a week, with eight confirmed episodes and a chance to produce more, Tom Julian, president of JUL-TV told Construction Dive.
The goal of the show, Julian said, is to highlight trade schools as a viable route for young people leaving high school to set themselves up for a career path. The show will attempt to display that by taking a closer look at trades to include welding, car building, guitar making and whiskey distilling.
"There are millions of young men and women who can do more fulfilling jobs without college," Julian said, adding that he hopes the show will "ignite a spark" in young people.
Nick Kasik has worked in construction for more than 30 years, he said. Now, he's producing the show with Julian.
"I was one of those kids that couldn’t afford to go to college, didn’t really feel like I had a path, didn’t know what to do," Kasik said. He decried a system that pushes higher education on those who may not need or benefit from it.
"We're doing a huge disservice to people," Kasik said.
Contractors have turned to other media to attract emerging members of the workforce recently. In January 2020, a St. Louis contractor sponsored a rap music video to promote construction careers.
UP Companies teamed with Howard "Chingy" Bailey Jr. to write and produce a song and video called "Old Construction Road," a parody of the hit song "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X. The video was designed to appeal to potential workers of all ages and of any racial demographic. It took about three months to pull together from conception to release and has been shown by trade organizations and the local media. Since it was posted on YouTube, the video has over 22,000 views.