MCEF Celebrates ‘Careers in Construction Month’

PEARL ― 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.

Barkett noted that fewer students are seeking careers in the construction and manufacturing industries because many parents and guidance counselors are steering them toward a college pathway rather than a vocational route. This leads to challenges given the shortage of skilled workers and the fact that carpenters, electricians, framers, roofers and others in the field earn good salaries and express high job satisfaction.

“What must change are our attitudes,” said Barkett. “We’re working hard to remove the stigma that is too often associated with career and technical education by reframing these careers in the light they deserve. Modern construction and manufacturing jobs are cutting-edge, technologically advanced, academically rigorous and high paying.”

Throughout October, MCEF will celebrate Careers in Construction Month by inviting the public to discover the work it is doing to create a more promising future for all Mississippians.

MCEF’s Building Futures initiative, launched in January, continues to grow partners to promote careers in the construction industry and recruit and train more Mississippians to pursue them.

Meanwhile, the foundation’s state-of-the-art career training center, unveiled in June, is already preparing career and technical professionals to meet the growing demand for workers.

Planned for this fall is the addition of a password-protected job bank to MCEF.net that allows construction firms and potential workers to post and access job information. And in November, MCEF will announce winners of the second annual video contest for high school students to promote career and technical education.

“We believe that the more Mississippians know about career and technical education, the more likely they’ll speak positively about construction and manufacturing careers in their communities,” said Barkett. “When more parents, school leaders and employers become knowledgeable about the rewards of career and technical education, there’s a good chance that more young people across Mississippi will pursue careers in construction and manufacturing.”

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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