Last week, Giroux Glass participated in the fourth Annual Career Fair at California High School, in Whittier, California. The career fair hosted more than 2,500 students between the ages of 14-19 years old. “Why a high school,” one could well wonder? For reasons of spreading the word about the vast labor shortage in our industry, largely due to an age gap of incoming younger workers. The career fair was a perfect opportunity to help spread the word about the many benefits and opportunities in the construction field — for girls and boys! In talking to so many young people, we hoped to attract them to glazing, and to Giroux Glass.
The irony is that according to industry projections made by GCP Global (in their forecast entitled, “Global Construction 2030,”), the construction industry is the largest employer in the world and is expected to grow 70% by 2025. How large is that? To put it in perspective, the US construction market is predicted to grow faster than China over next 15 years. There has never been a time where more incoming workers are needed, yet not nearly the number required are committing to construction careers.
At Giroux Glass, we strongly believe in and encourage mentorship throughout our company. Along with mentorship, we try our best to educate and excite younger generations about a career in the construction industry. Our CEO and president, Nataline Lomedico, and shop employee, Cesar Barragan joined me at the fair. We met with students at our booth, and were pleasantly surprised at the amount of attention we received.
Many students inquired about the education, training, and skills required to become a glazier. The union salary ranges and generous benefits in the construction industry (pleasantly!) shocked many of them, and we saw great interest in the union environment.
For many, the opportunity to work on a wide range of adventurous projects also sparked their interest. Of course, our banner showing some of our more challenging projects, including the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon, got many “aahs” and “oohs.” The technological advances and increased “green” building where glazing has a significant impact also impressed the students.
The only other potential employer drawing more enthusiasm was the California National Guard, represented by SSG Brian De Santiago. Colleges sponsored most of the other tables, but there was also some construction participation. Representatives from Griffith Company, Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute and the National Organization of Women in Construction attended.
The school prepared lovely lunches and little gifts for all participants, which was a pleasant surprise. We look forward to participating in the next California High School Career Fair in October, and can say with certainty that if it attracts another group of young people to our industry, it will be – again! – time well spent.