The rising cost of college is putting new emphasis on helping young people find alternative career paths that won’t leave them heavily in debt. The 18th annual Arizona Construction Career Days, held November 7 – 8, aims to expose young people to new career options they may not otherwise have considered that do not necessarily require a college degree.

Rosendin, the nation’s largest employee-owned electrical contracting company, will offer participating students several hands-on demonstrations with technology that has changed the industry, such as computer modeling and augmented reality. Volunteers from the company’s Tempe office will also teach students how to wire a light, fabricate tubes, and bend conduit pipes. Rosendin hopes that these kinds of experiences will inspire students to consider a career in construction as a viable option for their future. 

Rosendin is one of 56 companies participating in the two-day event which runs November 7 and 8th from 8am to 2pm, at the Arizona Army National Guard at Papago Park located at 5636 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix. 

“We are thrilled to have a chance to speak with thousands of young people to demonstrate that a career in construction includes emerging technology for people who like computers, climate-controlled workspaces, and new tools that erase any gender differences,” said Mike Greenawalt, Senior Vice President at Rosendin Electric. “These events are important because when schools cut vocational programs, it began changing society’s perception of skilled trades and we need people now more than ever.” 

Students will also get a chance to learn about apprenticeship programs that offer hands-on learning while earning a paycheck and attending classes once a week. Out of pocket costs for an electrical apprenticeship with Rosendin and the Phoenix Electrical JATC run about $8,000 over a four-year program.

This year’s Arizona Construction Career Days is on track to be the largest, with 56 companies and 3,000 expected students. School districts from across the state provide transportation, with some coming from as far as 300 miles away.  This event is run by the Association for Construction and Career Development (ACCD), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates nearly 60% of U.S. jobs will be related to construction in the next decade, yet there is a shortage of qualified workers. The tight labor market has forced companies to offer new perks and paid apprenticeships that will lead to high-paying positions around the state.