It’s almost summer. Your future prospects need work. At the same time, your company could use extra help during the busy summer season when many of your employees want to take some vacation time. So here is a win-win concept for you.

Construction tech schools are in the process of educating and training your future pool of prospective employees. These schools represent an excellent resource from which to recruit new talent in a labor pool that we all know is very thin these days. So, by offering summer internships, your company can try out candidates that you feel may be a good fit for future permanent employment. Allowing these key prospects to complete their last year of education in the field of construction with a foot in your door can be the difference when it comes to snagging the cream of the crop from the graduating class.

My stepson attends a high school career center trade school majoring in construction technology. He participated in the Skills USA competition (skillsusa.com) this summer, which allowed him and his school associates to show off their skills to local companies that sponsor competition. Also, Alex’s trade school allows local construction companies to visit the campus to conduct mock interviews. During the mock interviews, if the company sees a candidate that it feels could be a good fit for future employment, it might make a play to court that person before he or she graduates.

So, after he had a few mock interviews, Alex got a call from human resource manager of one of the companies that participated. To his delight, Alex was asked to come in for a real interview to be considered for a summer internship. After several more interviews, Alex has now been selected for a summer internship with this company paying $12.50 per hour.

More important than the wage itself, however, is the huge boost in self-confidence and opportunity to learn real on-the-job techniques that this opportunity provides. If things work out this summer, then Alex’s internship will continue when he goes back to school in the fall with the understanding that he will join the company as a full-time employee after graduation.

I asked Alex what this opportunity means to him.

“My summer internship is motivating me to grow in my trade and makes me look forward to working for this company full time in the future without looking at other options,” he said.

So, by showing an early interest in this candidate, and by being a major contributing factor in his education and training, this  company has a great chance of landing one of the best candidates in the labor pool and one that is already familiar with the company’s philosophy and culture. So the chances of a long-term fit are greatly magnified.

With the availability of skilled labor in the construction industry seemingly at an all-time low, companies seeking competent and committed employees need to be involved as close to the front end of the education and training process as possible. I feel that if we could connect with them in kindergarten, that would be ideal. You may laugh at this notion, but I know successful campaigns that have done so and with astonishing results. But that’s a blog for another day.

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