SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - Build My Future is a construction showcase for high school students across Missouri. The goal is to start filling construction and trade job openings. Right now, the industry has more openings than there are qualified workers.
Nabholz Construction is one company that is feeling this hiring sting. "Our big struggle over the past couple of years that we have had is just getting man power on the ground," said Tim Potthoff with the company.
Potthoff explained how part of the issue lies in baby-boomers retiring. "We have a great group of individuals, but most of them are getting to the age that they're going to be retiring in the next five to ten years and we don't have the people lined up behind them to take over those positions."
High school students also don't get much hands-on experience in the construction field to see if it sparks their interest. The Build My Future event solves these problems by inviting schools to participate in a day of hands on exhibits including activities representing architecture, bricklaying, heavy equipment operating, virtual reality simulations, welding, and more. "We'll have indoor things, outdoor things, students will get to actually go up in scissor lifts and boom lifts," said Megan Short of the Springfield Contractors Association. Short has been apart of the event since it started.
Short said another issue is the stigma surrounding the construction industry. She said the idea that construction is a "dirty job" is far from reality. "If you went into construction it was a last resort, but we're finally seeing that change that people are going back to ' Hey, this is a really good career, you can make a lot of money, and honestly you can have a lot of fun doing it," said Short.
Short explained the importance of getting millennials interested in the labor force can't be stressed enough. She says if these jobs are not filled, somewhere down the line, communities and economies will start to feel the impact.
The fourth annual Build My Future Construction Showcase will be Wednesday, April 8 at the E-Plex at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. The deadline for students to register is Friday, February 14. High school students need to talk with their counselor to register. The event is free, all schools and students need to provide is their own transportation.