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As Skilled Worker Shortage Grows, Build Tampa Bay Offers Career Insight to More Than 1,000 Local Students

April 25, 2019 - Student Success

On April 18th, high school students interested in learning about career opportunities in building and construction-related industries visited the Straz Center to connect with more than 50 local employers at the annual Build Tampa Bay tradeshow and job fair. 

“This is super cool to see all of these companies coming together and connecting with students; talking about what the companies need and it really prepares these students for the real world,” said Blake Conley, Blake High School’s Technical Theater teacher. 

“The outpouring of support from the local construction industry for the Build Tampa Bay event has been overwhelming, indicating that our next generation of leaders have many employment options available to them at every education level imaginable,” said Steve Cona III, HCPS School Board Member and president/CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter. 

The event is designed to provide more than 1,000 local students with information, career advice, and immediate employment opportunities in career fields such as architecture, engineering, plumbing, masonry, machine operations, and general construction. 

“The best part of this event is we have a Signing Day. All of the kids have the opportunity to sign on with a company to get a great job. The companies will then put these kids in training programs,” explained Cona. 

Middleton High School senior Amyiah Kirksey signed a contract with DeLotto & Sons, Inc., giving her a clear direction before next month’s graduation. 

“I chose this over the traditional college route because building things has always been a dream of mine. It is setting me up on the right path to look at a building and think, ‘I put that together,’” said Kirksey. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the skilled worker shortage is expected to grow to 1.6 million workers in the construction industry by 2022. Moreover, more than four out of five Associated Builder and Contractor member companies nationally are already experiencing a shortage of appropriately skilled workers despite an annual investment of $1.1 billion in apprenticeships and workforce training.  

This event is one step toward encouraging more individuals to explore lasting career opportunities in these fields.  

“Hopefully the students leave and have a better understanding of the opportunities in this region so they can graduate, get a great job, contribute to our society and help build Tampa into the next great city,” explained Warren Brooks, HCPS’s Director of Career & Technical Education. 

 “It’s a win-win for everybody involved and we look forward to continuing this process of getting our kids the best opportunities for careers when they graduate,” said Cona.