Cy Boles is a carpentry instructor at Meridian Technology Center. MTC serves individuals and industries in the Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts.
Q1: October is Careers in Construction Month. What is the purpose behind this special designation?
A1: Careers in Construction Month is a nationwide recognition of the career opportunities that exist in the construction industry. It occurs each October and is led by the National Center for Construction Education and Research and its Build Your Future initiative to increase public awareness and inspire the next generation of craft professionals.
Q2: What programs does Meridian offer to prepare students for a career in the construction industry?
A2: In addition to the carpentry program we also offer career training in air conditioning and refrigeration, computer aided design, electrical technology, facilities management and masonry. Many of these programs offer one-year or two-year options.
Q3: How great is the demand for workers in the construction industry at the national and local level?
A3: The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data and an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders indicates that there were 263,000 open construction sector jobs in June, more than 60,000 that time last year. Companies are increasingly voicing concerns about the short supply of workers in these key trades. Now that demand for new construction is ramping up in many markets, companies are struggling to find skilled workers. We’re seeing that in communities all across the Meridian district. The jobs are there, but there aren’t enough workers to fill the openings.
Q4: How are Meridian’s building trades programs helping local companies with the worker shortage?
A4: Our programs are designed to give students the skills they need to get a job as soon as they graduate. We have great relationships with construction companies within the district. Many of them serve on our business and education councils and provide input on industry trends and what skills they need their employees to have. Because of those relationships, our students have the skills they need to enter the workforce upon graduation. These companies also reach out for student recommendations for their open positions.
Q5: How can someone learn more about the building trades programs that Meridian offers? How can they enroll?
A5: Information about all of Meridian’s programs can be found at meridiantech.edu/programs. Parents and students can read about the hands-on programs, discover possible career options in that industry and get information about credentials associated with that program. New students can start in January.
- David Bitton