Michigan Construction Career Day

By David Fleet
Howell — Several Brandon High School students recently explored opportunities in the trades.
According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Employment, the state is experiencing a significant shortage of professional trades workers, which is expected to continue through 2026. Some of the reasons include much of the workforce is aging out and retiring early due to the physical demands of the job, the current demand to improve area infrastructure and low unemployment statewide.
On May 1, a total of about 45 Brandon High School Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) 12 students, along with select construction trades and welding students, attended the annual Michigan Construction Career Days in Howell. Brandon joined 108 schools statewide who had the opportunity to interact with large equipment, meet professionals in a variety of industries, and participate in hands-on activities that highlight careers in the trades.
BHS STEM Coordinator Elisabeth Rawling organized the day-long trip.
“The students were surprised at the variety of trades,” said Rawling. “The businesses who attended were very open with the students regarding jobs and provided a pathway to their specific trade. They explained training, locations and how much they would make at an entry position. Many of the students were excited to hear college was not the only option after high school.”
Rawling said that trades also include management positions.
“Business organizers and owners were part of the discussion during the day too,” she said. “All the companies were hiring who attended the event. And they were all making tons of money. My advice to students graduating or will graduate next spring is to seek what you like to do. That way you’ll never work a day in your life. Take the time to talk to professionals in that trade, whether it be construction, welding or anything. They are open to discussion.”
Rawling was encouraged by the number of female managers in the trade and industry.
“It’s really an equal opportunity for men and women,” she said. “It’s not a boys club anymore.”

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