Letter: Earn while you learn in construction

Christopher Wheeler

Ask any contractor what keeps them up at night and 9 times out of 10 they will answer with something related to attracting the next generation of workforce. The shortage of workers in the skilled trades is high, and will continue to grow in the years to come. This shortage has the potential to be a game-changer in the construction industry, which is why construction industry leaders and Gov. Terry Branstad have teamed up to proclaim the first week of October as “Construction Week.”

The purpose behind Construction Week is not only to promote awareness of the construction industry as a safe, exciting and rewarding career. It is also an opportunity for those of us in the industry to reach out to our local schools in an effort to educate students, parents, teachers, counselors and school leaders about the commercial construction industry and create career opportunities within it.


• Skilled labor in the United States will not catch up to demand until 2050

• Construction spending will continue to rise through at least 2020

• Average pay after graduating from an apprentice program is $53,000

• College debt for those entering the industry right out of high school — $0

Earning while you learn a lifetime skill is a smart career choice and the construction industry holds tremendous potential for our young people. Becoming a builder could be the best decision a young person could make. It was for me.

Christopher Wheeler

Cedar Rapids

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