Recently 46 area contractors, vendors, schools and workforce teams joined together to provide a hands-on, interactive event at St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley that introduced another 650-plus area high school students to the construction industry. From pounding away at pipe or fashioning a sheet metal carrier, to creating a wooden toolbox that doubles as a footstool or trying out welding, drywall or concrete, AGCMO member contractors and partners created a fun, interactive experience-filled day for the students.
Each Build My Future event starts with students picking up a t-shirt, backpack and safety glasses, followed by a 5-10-minute safety talk and overview of the day’s activities. Students then fan out to both indoor and outdoor displays and activities, followed by lunch and networking time. A Construction Job Fair closed out the Oct. 12 event from 2:30 to 6 p.m., with companies standing by to talk with persons interested in current job opportunities in the industry.
This was the fifth Build My Future event for AGCMO this year, including earlier BMF events in St. Charles, Springfield, Macon and Sikeston, with a sixth Build My Future scheduled in Jefferson City Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Jefferson City Jaycees’ Fairgrounds. Two 2023 BMF events are already scheduled for next year – April 5, 2023 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield and April 26 and 27 at the St. Charles Family Arena in St. Charles.
The construction industry serves as an important engine to Missouri’s overall economy. At the same time, there is a critical workforce shortage in the industry. The purpose of the event is to introduce high school students to the exceptional workforce development & training programs in existence along with good-paying career opportunities immediately available.
In today’s competitive workforce environment, it’s important to inform students and their parents about the plentiful and immediate opportunities in the construction industry. Here are a few facts that are helpful in introducing students to the industry:
Economic Impact: U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)—the value of all goods and services produced in the country—totaled $23 trillion in 2021; construction contributed $958 billion (4.2%). In Missouri, construction contributed $15.5 billion (4.9%) of the state’s GDP of $319.3 billion. There were 753,000 construction firms in the U.S. in 2020, including 13,640 in Missouri. https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/Files/Advocacy/MO.pdf
Construction Employment: The US construction industry employed 7.692 million in July and increased to 7,708 million in August. In Missouri, the construction industry employed 140,600 in August 2022 (seasonally adjusted), an increase of 7,600 (5.7%) over August 2021. https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/users/user21902/State%20Empl%202022_August_Alpha_12mo.pdf
Construction Industry Pay: Construction jobs pay well. In Missouri, 5 out of the 5 most numerous construction occupations had higher median pay than the median for all employees in the state in 2021 (Half of workers earn more than the median; half earn less.) See AGC of America Missouri fact sheet for sample median wages:
Workforce Shortage: Nationally 91 percent of contractors report difficulty in filling both craft and salaried positions. In Missouri, 96 percent of surveyed contractors report difficulty finding hourly craft workers and 77 percent are having problems filling salaried positions, mirroring statistics nationwide. View recent survey results here:
*SOURCE: AGC of America Missouri Fact Sheet (07/22/22)) unless otherwise indicated.
AGCMO was pleased to welcome several state and local leaders to the Oct. 12 event. Ferguson Mayor Ella Jones welcomed the vendors at the ribbon cutting, encouraging them to continue to reach out to our youth. (Her husband was an electrician so she made it clear she recognized that construction provides a good living wage.) She jointly broke the ribbon along with Dr. Elizabeth Perkins, Campus President and Chief Academic Officer of St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley.
Missouri Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe stopped by to talk with students and was able to try out some of the larger equipment. Also, Missouri State Senator Brian Williams (14th District; Assistant Minority Floor Leader) took time out from his busy schedule to tour the displays and talk with the students.
Build My Future has been an astounding success in 2022. Here are the results, to date:
Springfield (April 13), Students: 1700, Schools: 70, Exhibitors: 64
Note: Original registrations were 2700; inclement weather prevented some students from attending.
This event had 48 sponsors, including the AGCMO Education Foundation.
St. Charles (April 20), Students: 800 (Approx.), Sponsors: 28, Exhibitors: 47
NOTE: The Francis Howell School District and the Home Builders Association of St. Louis and Eastern Missouri chaired this event, with the AGCMO Education Foundation also participating on the committee and as a sponsor.
AGCMO (Lead Sponsor/Organizer) EVENTS:
Upstate MO (Macon; Sept. 21), Students: 1500, Schools: 48, Sponsors: 28, Exhibitors: 47
Southeast Region (Sikeston; Oct. 5), Students: 1600, Schools: 49, Exhibitors 24, Sponsors: 21
Gateway Region (St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley; Oct. 12), Students: 650, Schools: 46, Exhibitors/Sponsors: 42
Central MO Region (Jefferson City; Oct. 18), Students: 1800 (Approx.), Schools: 57, Exhibitors: 51, Sponsors: 30
For information or to volunteer for 2023 events, contact Charlyce Ruth at AGCMO.
The Associated General Contractors of Missouri (AGCMO) represents the united voice of the construction industry throughout the state of Missouri. AGC of Missouri represents nearly 550 commercial building, industrial, highway, transportation, and utility infrastructure contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties across the state of Missouri. AGCMO operates offices in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Springfield. Visit: www.agcmo.org