By: Kristi Pronovost, Director of Marketing & Communications

There was an tangible feeling of excitement in the air last month as the sounds of students and educators sharing their enthusiasm for Construction Wars activities filled the halls of ABC Keystone. Heavy equipment on the front lawn greeted bright yellow busses filled with students who had signed up for a day of hands-on construction career introduction. As they entered the building under the canopy of the celebratory Careers in Construction Month banner, their faces lit up as they saw tables lined with hardhats in their favorite colors and boxes of bright yellow safety vests. Many voiced their surprise, “We get to KEEP these? Awesome!

That was just the start of what would prove to be a memorable day for every student that attended. As one middle-schooler exlaimed, “This is so amazing – honestly, a life changing experience. Thank you so much!” Whether they were discovering how electrical connections work to turn on a lightbulb, using hand and powertools to craft wooden benches and metal toolboxes, connecting PVC pieces to better understand plumbing, or visiting with construction industry professionals about the many paths that they might consider for their future, each and every student left with a hard hat filled with station stickers, and a future filled with new career possibilities.

Every member who took part in this event, either through planning, prep work, supply donations, sponsorships, and/or volunteering, can rest assured that their contributions made a strong impact on the future career choices to be made by these middle school students. The time that our volunteers spent sharing their expertise and experiences with the children served as a positive representation of the entire construction industry. Students responded with comments such as, “I met nice and inspiring people. I would do construction in the future,” and “It makes me think that I want to go into a construction career.” Imagine how many future craft professionals might look back at Construction Wars as the spark that created their career path.

Several legislators visited the Chapter to see this event take place, and the students even had a chance to meet PA Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera. Construction Wars occurs twice a year, and the recognition of the potential impact it is having on workforce development continues to grow. Comments on our social media channels and even tweets from the Department of Education, the Department of Labor & Industry, and Legislators themselves, show the value that this event is seen to have on the career education of students.

Educators who accompanied their students left with a new appreciation for the many possibilities afforded by a construction career path, as shared in their survey responses, “As a chaperone, I appreciated how each of the trade station hosts took time to connect the trade to the everyday world and then to careers. This event is a great way to get students thinking about how construction could be in their future career paths.” “This facility is outstanding, and this event is a great opportunity for students.”

Construction Wars is only possible through the continued support of our generous members. We thank each of you for your involvement and your impact on workforce development. Please visit our social media platforms for photos from the event and listings of sponsors.

November 5, 2019