Lancaster County Middle School Students Trying Out Local business

Kendall Jackson, an eighth-grade student at Huesken Middle School, on Wednesday tried to assemble pipes, lay bricks, hit metal metal in a toolbox and build a wooden bench, but there was something about fitting pipes that intrigued him.

“I actually like it,” said a Constable Valley School District student, holding the square of newly contracted plastic pipes. The piece withstood a pressure of 100 pounds. Pretty good for a first try, Associated Builders & Contractors volunteers told him the Keystone episode.

Jackson, who plays Lacrosse and loves video games, said after the experience that plumbing might be a career for him.

Jackson was one of more than 200 middle school students from Lancaster and the surrounding counties who came down to the ABC Keystone Chapter in the city of Rapo for three days – Tuesday through today – on a journey of hands-on activities designed to introduce them to construction and commerce. Professions.

The Career Research Event, called Construction Wars, takes place twice a year at the ABC Keystone Education and Training Facility at 135 Shellyland Road. The events have been taking place since 2017.

Advocacy comes at a time when the construction sector is growing but its workforce is aging and about to retire.

Nationwide, the construction industry needs more than 650,000 more workers by 2022 alone to meet growing demand. This is without the increase in construction work that is driven by money flowing into infrastructure projects since the epidemic.

Kendrick Kendall of New Cumberland Middle School is working on a bench project at ABC Keystone in Mannheim, where they will host middle school students for three days to let kids taste professions such as brick, plumbing, carpentry, metal, electrical, technology and heavy equipment work on Wednesday, March 30th. 2022

Meanwhile, the construction sector is expected to lose about 40 percent of its workforce to retirement by 2030, said G. David Slood, president and CEO of ABC Keystone, a chapter in an organization that advocates and offers training for the construction industry.

Mackenzie Long, an eighth-grader at Huesken who loves gymnastics, compared the activities according to their ease of execution. The hammer of the tin into the toolbox took some work but she loved the product in the end.

She was not sure she would love it as a career but it was fun to do, Long said.

Huesken’s transition coordinator, Will Denz, said his goal in bringing students to ABC is to expose them to careers they would not recognize before they have to make a decision to go to a tenth or eleventh grade technical center.

“This experience ignites this flame,” Denz said. “Salaries open their eyes.”

Higher-than-average local employment

The employment of construction workers in Lancaster is higher than the national average, accounting for 8.2% of the total workforce employed in the county compared to 5.9% in the U.S., and wages in the construction professions have risen by an average of 2.9% per year over the past 10 years.

The average wage in the Lancaster construction industry of $ 60,671 is higher than the average wage of all industries of $ 52,531.

Construction workers constitute the highest occupational group in construction, followed by carpenters. The county needs 628 people each year to fill workers and carpentry jobs.

The annual demand for workers and carpenters is 628 people.

Another sign of the thriving construction sector is the number of businesses in the district, which grew from 1,529 to 1,834, or 20%, between 2010 and 2020.

Mike Snyder, 59, a veteran volunteer at the event and an HVAC dealer who works for HB McClure in Harrisburg, said the practical activities at the event could change the lives of some of the students who have difficulty sitting in classes all day. It opens the door to a career and a job they have not considered.

“Some students work better and are happier working with their hands,” he said. “Suddenly (when working with their hands) they are good at math, suddenly they are good at English.”

Izzy Ger, an eighth-grade student at Huesken whose favorite grade is citizenship, said she had no idea what kind of job she would want when she grew up, but she eagerly tried all the activities – including climbing a dozer to learn how GPS guides the equipment.

What is love?

“Probably the toolbox,” Ger said. “It’s fun and hard.”

The practical work and sense of accomplishment is what attracted volunteer Danny Comp to work as a builder. Mount Perry County works for the Mount Joy Borough-based Witmer Group.

“At the end of the day you can stand back and look at what you have built now,” said Comp, who learned the profession first from his father and then at work. He also teaches trainees like Ryan Leach, 27, of Landisville. Leach is nearing the end of his third year as an apprentice.

Leach also volunteered for the event, helping middle school students learn about building bricks.

Leach said he does not remember if he was exposed to subjects at school. His dream was to go to Penn State. He did travel to Penn State but left after two years. He said he found he was more of a practical learner. He worked and saved money to study at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. He graduated in 2017.

The construction industry is known for professions that are good for apprenticeships and a high number of apprentices, said Valery Hatfield, director of compliance and business involvement of the Lancaster County Development Council.

Hatfield said the average wage for construction workers is $ 43,900 and these jobs require a high school diploma. Many times these employees move to skilled positions through apprenticeships.

Apprentices participate in welfare programs while learning that allow them to acquire their education, be employed during their paid studies, and have the potential to graduate without obligations.

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White John Bricker of the Whitmer Group, in the center, shows Jackie McCarren, left, how to use the joint when Bella Hassinger, both of middle school Allen puts White in the next course. ABC Keystone in Mannheim will host middle school students for three days to give kids a taste of professions such as construction, plumbing, carpentry, metal, electrical, technology and heavy equipment for work on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

“That number is growing and that’s one of the reasons why apprenticeships are a successful model,” she said in an email. “The model of earning while learning allows employees to earn certificates and degrees at work, without college tuition, and they offer a competitive salary scale.”

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Middle School students work in a metal section at ABC Keystone in Mannheim, where they will host middle school students over the next three days to let kids taste professions such as brick, plumbing, carpentry, metal, electrical, technology and heavy equipment work on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 .

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