CARSON CITY, Nev. – Governor Sandoval issued a proclamation declaring October as Careers in Construction Month, and the first ever Northern Nevada Construction Career Day, showcasing construction careers to Washoe County middle and high school students with a job fair for employment seekers, will be held at the Reno Livestock Event Center Exhibit Hall on Tuesday, October 25.
The day-long event, sponsored by the Nevada Construction Collaborative, features morning educational sessions for Washoe School District counselors and faculty, and separate sessions of hands-on, interactive displays and exhibits for middle and high school students, and an afternoon community exploratory session and job fair which are open to the public.
Representatives from area construction firms, associations and higher education will be on hand to answer questions, meet with students and the community to showcase various aspects of the construction trades. Employment resources including JOIN, Inc., Community Service Agency and JobConnect will be on hand for job seekers.
“Construction Career Day is meant to show people the wide variety of jobs available in the industry,” Aaron West, chief executive officer of Nevada Builders Alliance said. “So far in 2016, construction employment is up 9.4 percent over 2015, and in the specialty trades, employment has grown nearly 10 percent in the past year as well.”
West said finding skilled workers is a challenge for area builders.
“Construction workers left the state during the economic downturn,” he said. “We are facing a critical shortage of trained and skilled workers. Many companies are hiring to train, in order to develop long-term employees.”
Brad Mills, owner of Mills Roofing in Truckee, said his company has overcome the challenge of looking for skilled roofers by hiring people to train from the bottom up, giving incentives for additional training and reinforcing learning at every step by turning trainees into trainers over time.
“We started our training program four years ago,” he said. “We started with three guys, and those guys are now training the new guys.”
Mills said he starts his employees at $16 per hour for training, and after a couple of years, with hard work and following the training program, they can go to $20 and up to $25 an hour in four years.
“I’m an advocate of employee training now,” he said. “I’ll spend the rest of my life training new employees. When you train them from the bottom up, they do it the right way, the safe way, every time.”
The Nevada Construction Collaborative, comprised of Nevada Builders Alliance, The Associated General Contractors of America, Builders Association of Northern Nevada and the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, is sponsoring the event in partnership with the Washoe County School District Signature Academies and Career and Technical Education.
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