MCEF Celebrates ‘Careers in Construction Month’

Observance will highlight rewarding careers in state’s growing construction industry


RIDGELAND ― October is National Careers in Construction Month, and the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation is taking steps to raise awareness of opportunities among industry and education leaders while introducing students to rewarding construction careers.

Spearheaded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and declared by Gov. Phil Bryant as an official, month-long observance in Mississippi, the annual initiative includes a broad range of partners aggressively working to combat shortages of craft professionals across the country.

“By 2019, Mississippi will need more than 80,000 craft professionals to meet the needs of the state’s growing construction industry,” said MCEF President Mike Barkett. “Now more than ever is the time to promote construction careers in our state.”

MCEF is the state’s leading provider of craft training in high schools, community colleges and apprenticeship programs and partners with the state Department of Education to deliver training to 5,000 high school students enrolled in more than 100 career and technical education centers. MCEF also has articulation agreements with 15 community colleges that enable graduates of the organization’s four-year apprentice program to receive up to 32 academic hours.

In recognition of ‘Careers in Construction Month,’ MCEF representatives are planning an array of events and activities that include regional informational meetings for education and community leaders, a statewide video contest for students in grades 7-12, and several civic club and media visits.

“The future is bright for the construction industry in Mississippi and for craft professionals seeking employment here,” Barkett said. “Many students and advisors are still

unaware of opportunities available in career and technical education. We’re working to turn that perception around.”

Jacob Brock, a 2016 graduate of Kossuth High School in Corinth, was named Student of the Year at Alcorn County Technical Center, where his focus was construction and metal fabrication.  He credits career and technical education for providing a path for him to fulfill his goal of becoming a civil engineer.

“Having a training center available in my community gave me the opportunity to see a variety of career options that I would otherwise have been unaware,” said Brock, who is majoring in civil engineering technology at Northeast Mississippi Community College. “I was impressed with the variety of classes and how instructors worked to help students excel.”

Many graduates go on to complete four-year degrees in fields such as engineering and architecture, while others are interested in starting careers directly after high school. Thanks to the variety of craft training programs now offered in Mississippi, 21 percent of high school graduates successfully transitioned to careers last year.

“Students today need every opportunity to find their place in life, and career and technical education can open up a world of career possibilities,” Barkett said. “The outlook for the construction industry means many of these students can find their futures right here in Mississippi, and we’re making sure the workforce of tomorrow is prepared to meet the call.”

The mission of the non-profit MCEF is to promote careers, recruit capable individuals and train a quality workforce for the construction and manufacturing industries in the state of Mississippi. MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades.

Learn more about MCEF at http://mcef.net. “Careers in Construction Month” is an initiative of NCCER and Build Your Future ― see http://byf.org for details.

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