Will Student-Focused Builder Conferences Secure the Future of the Trades?

December 26, 2019
Young Builder
Builder choosing angle grinder in hardware store By Nomad_Soul - Adobe Stock

How do we get young students interested in the trades? Show, don’t just tell: The Home Builders Association of Richmond drew more than 800 students to a builder conference focused on building a career in the trades. Hands-on booths let students try to drill or fix a leaking pipe, fully immersing students in potential paths for their future. With these interactive exhibits and the message of career-potential without college debt, the convention showed that visibility may be the key to winning over young, bright minds to grow the next generation of builders. 

How do you capture the attention of students and steer them toward a career in residential construction? The Home Builders Association of Richmond (HBAR) found the answer by creating an interactive experience designed to educate students about the wide variety of jobs within the industry.

Last Month, more than 800 students from surrounding Richmond, Va., school systems attended the second annual Student Construction Conference held at the Richmond International Raceway. The event was organized and hosted by HBAR and the passionate members of their Workforce Development Committee. The 60,000-square-foot exhibition hall was filled with hands-on activities for high school students ranging from power drilling cabinets to spotting the leak in the plumbing line.

“[Our Workforce Development Committee] wants to publicize to our local students, parents and educators that residential construction trades bring high paying jobs that lead to lifelong careers and entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Mitchell Bode, president of HBAR. “It’s important for our local community to understand that a student going into the trades can have a very successful future without racking up student debt at a four-year university.”

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