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Career Quest 2015

Striving to Lead Today's Youth into Construction Careers

Six thousand students are poised to descend on DeVos Place in Grand Rapids on April 28 as they attend Career Quest 2015. The career and college readiness event is uniquely designed for middle and high school students, offering hands-on demonstrations of what it's really like to be a foreman, a mechanical engineer, an RN, and more -- direct from the people who perform those jobs every day.

At a recent ASAM General Membership Meeting, several Career Quest exhibitors addressed the need for additional volunteers for the one-day event and, more significantly, predicted that some of those thousands of students experiencing Career Quest "may be your future employees." Success at drawing young people into construction is essential if the industry is to respond to the growing need for manpower in an economy on the upswing.

Organizers are banking on just that. At Career Quest 2015 students, in groups of 50, will be guided through the various areas and displays. They will:

  • explore key West Michigan industries expecting solid job growth into the near future
  • make connections between the classroom and the workplace by interacting with technology, tools, and professionals from many different fields
  • discover workplace opportunities available to students like internships and job shadows

Why target junior high school students? Because studies have shown that youth begin to develop concepts of the workforce and their interest in it around ages 12-14. Career directions get set at the sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade levels.

Career Quest 2015 will complement the work of the Construction Workforce Development Alliance (CWDA), which was founded to help attract the next generation to the construction industry and supply them with access to skilled trades training. CWDA built the "Jump Start Program" in conjunction with GRCC and Michigan Works! Subsequently, Michigan Works! requested that the CWDA run the construction portion of Career Quest 2015.

Event organizers are setting up individual displays showing various portions of the construction process. Exhibits will include pre-construction, concrete, mechanical/ plumbing, ironwork, welding, tile setting, glazing, carpentry and electrical. HBA will demonstrate what it takes to get into residential construction, and the differences between residential and commercial. Manufacturing and healthcare will be presenting as well.

Although this is the first time such an event has been held, organizers expect it will turn into an annual event, stirring the interest of future generations. Because of the large numbers of students expected (2,000 every two hours, from 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.), volunteers are needed to take them through the exhibits and to keep them moving on to all the different areas and displays.

For more information, ABCWMC members may contact either Norm Brady (nbrady@abcwmc.org) or Jen Schottke (jschottke@abcwmc.org). ASAM members may contact Chuck Lane (clane@vdiw.net).

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