MONROE, Ohio — When Jackson Rice describes the construction site where he is standing in Monroe, he sounds more like a trained supervisor than a high school student.
"They're digging back five to six more inches to get the wood back there to build the forms, so when the concrete gets poured, it'll rest up against the forms and make it level,” Rice said.
This kind of real-world experience is just what the Butler Tech senior was hoping for.
"I've always wanted to do this; I've always wanted to get on to hands-on stuff,” Rice said.
Baker Concrete Construction is running a summer training program that allows students like Rice to see what a career in the industry is really like. For the company, the benefit in a tight labor market is two-fold.
"(It’s) available now with the potential to make a lot of money down the road," said Baker's regional HR manager Tonya Beesley. “We've exposed them to people who have risen up to superintendents, pump place finish managers that have no college education, and I'm certainly not promoting that you don't go to college, but it's not for everyone, and I think we know that.”
Beesley said the summer training program is helping the company recruit more young people and change the perception of what these jobs actually entail.
“There's a bad perception of what they do: You don't make any money; it's dirty; it's hard work,” she said.
Rice may be getting his hands dirty doing a job in construction, but he’s also working full-time making $15 an hour and learning about a variety of different options for his future.
"When I go into a trades field, I don't want to just stick with one trade; I want to be able to expand out and do a little bit of everything,” Rice said.
Beesley echoed that the training program’s students get experience on a number of different projects.
"They tore the trailer bed out and replaced it, painted it, doing some restoration work,” she said. “There was a pedestrian bridge out back that they built that gave them some carpentry work that they kind of liked. They've been working on our forms systems."
For more information on Butler Tech’s construction program, click or tap here.