150 students get a glimpse at construction trades at MABA career day

Electrician Bobby Lopez from Dave Jones speaks with students about the work and journey to become an electrician. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Greater Madison high school students took to a neighborhood construction development to get a better understanding of a career in construction trades as the Madison Area Builders Association (MABA) hosted its second annual career day.

Eight high schools throughout greater Madison cycled through eight different stations in the Acacia Ridge development on Tawny Acorn Drive in Verona. More than 150 students received a better look at what a career in construction looks like and heard from framers, roofers, electricians and other construction professionals as MABA worked to dispel myths about the trades.

The groups of students walked through the neighborhood and popped into houses in different stages of development. Construction workers from companies like Dave Jones and Veridian Homes gave breakdowns of what a day on the job looks lilke, brief demonstrations of some of their equipment, what education is required and what the pay will look like.

Students like Chris Woller from Mount Horeb High School, who already has an interest in framing and finishing, was excited to see a full picture of what his potential future career may look like.

“I’m learning a bunch of different things from step one through step eight. There’s so many things that no one really thinks about in the concept of making houses and it’s cool to see it step by step,” Woller said. “It’s really exciting to see the things that can come out of it.”

Students from Mount Horeb High School enter one of the housing developments in Acacia Ridge to learn more about drywalling. Photo by Omar Waheed.

Woller and most of the other students already had an interest in trades and are currently enrolled in construction-related programs. Workers from the various companies working on the neighborhood development were excited to see the youth interested in potentially pursuing a career path in construction trades.

MABA also had the goal of reaching students at the career day to dispel opinions that are commonly held by people about the trades. Often the trades are associated with being dirty and its workers as uneducated, according to MABA Executive Director Chad Lawler.

“There’s a lot of myths and misnomers of what the trades are. One of the ways we like to fix that is introducing kids to it,” Lawler said. “Not every job in the construction industry requires swinging a hammer. There’s about 100 other jobs that you can do that are construction related.”

Lawler outlined the need for workers in the trades as more and more houses are needed. There is estimated to be a need for 2.2 million more jobs in the trades over the next few years to meet people’s housing needs, Lawler said.