Are Construction Career Days worth it?

Kingston, R.I. All Construction Career Day program veterans those that have been in the thick of planning and hosting events for several years know the answer to the question they get from those unfamiliar with the program or its objectives: Is the CCD Program effort worth it? (See Al Schwartz on Education, Oct. 2008, p. 39). Construction industry personnel, whether in private industry or in public

Kingston, R.I. — All Construction Career Day program veterans — those that have been in the thick of planning and hosting events for several years — know the answer to the question they get from those unfamiliar with the program or its objectives: “Is the CCD Program effort worth it?” (See More on manpower in the construction industry October 2008).

Construction industry personnel, whether in private industry or in public service, are a practical lot. They are practical in the sense that they will expend their energy in pursuits that yield results and quickly drop those that are non-productive. I have been involved with the CCD program since it's beginning in 1999. Since that time I have met with countless industry representatives actively involved in planning local CCD events. To date, they are telling me that the CCD program is well worth the considerable effort involved in planning and hosting local CCD events.

The original goal of the CCD program was to promote the construction industry and its diversity of careers to America's youth in a memorable fashion. That goal remains relevant today. But it is obvious that we are making progress in bringing the industry and its careers to the attention of thousands of youths, their parents and educators.

Over 250,000 youths have participated in the program to date. More and more we are receiving evidence about specific kids entering some industry career or another as a direct result of having attended a CCD event. Educators are getting educated about the industry and are passing on that information to their students. And just as importantly, the industry's image — which has suffered negative connotations — has been continually improved via the significant local and national publicity CCD events have generated in television, radio, newspapers, trade magazines and other publications.

The industry-wide effort has shown what partnerships of volunteers representing the private and public sector, and educators can achieve to show America's youth that there are countless career opportunities in an industry that they otherwise may not have known about.

Recently, Faith Gavin Kuhn of the Connecticut CCD team e-mailed Jeff Cathcart of the National Construction Career Day Center. Faith's e-mail represents what so many CCD Team members around the country have told me of their experience with the program. She lists many of the positive results that CCD events are achieving for the industry. But in the end, and as Faith says in her message, “Still, the expression on a student's face after coming off a backhoe, or building something or jackhammering is priceless. Their faces say, ‘I did that. I never knew I could.’”

And, folks, that's why I remain proud to call myself a member of the Construction Career Day Program team!