The best way to learn about something is to try your hand at it. In terms of career exploration, Build My Future offers exactly that. Build My Future is a national workforce development initiative to highlight careers through hands-on training provided by local employers, educators and skilled trades associations. Each April, seventh and eighth grade students in the ICR region have an opportunity to engage in activities including: roofing, siding, designing and building a tiny house, framing, hanging and mudding drywall, plumbing, door hanging, GPS surveying, excavator and underground utilities, job site supervision, rebar tying, old methods vs. new technologies, brick laying, virtual reality, and many more. This will be the second year that the ACE Sector Board has presented the event, which is hosted by Kirkwood Community College and sponsored by the Iowa City Home Builders Association, as well as many industry partners. The first event in 2019 featured 18 local companies, engaging 153 middle school students from 10 schools. This year already has over 500 students registered, with many more local companies participating and creating engaging activities.
Through these engaging activities and interacting with industry professionals, students will not only learn about the craft behind skilled trades, but learn about required training and education, wages, working conditions, what a typical day might be for a given career, and opportunities in the industry. Events like Build My Future do a great job of illustrating to students that their opportunities after high school are not limited to a traditional 4-year-plus degree path at a college or university. Apprenticeships, trade school, associate’s degree paths, and certificate training co-exist with traditional education paths that are excellent means of pursuing exciting, lucrative careers. Many fulfilling opportunities await students right here in Eastern Iowa and beyond.
Whether you’re a student looking to sign up, or an ACE company who would like to participate and host an activity at the event, please visit https://explore-ace.org/build-my-future/ to learn more information about Build My Future. The deadline for signing up is March 15th!