Local contractors host career day
Event staged at Staab Construction exposes students to career opportunities
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — High school students from Auburndale, Marshfield, and Pittsville attended a Construction Career Day on Tuesday to learn more about postsecondary opportunities.
Staab Construction hosted the event, and representatives from House of Heating, Maurer Roofing, Total Electric, and E.B.E. Masonry manned stations where they spoke with students about their respective lines of work. This was Staab Construction’s second year hosting the event, and the company hopes to continue to expand it in the years to come.
“Next year we’re hoping to grow it. We want to get contractors more involved, but the whole premise is to get kids to come in, talk to contractors, to see why they enjoy what they’re doing” said Dan Neve, operations manager for Staab.
Steven Hartman, a junior from Auburndale high school, successfully wired a thermostat at House of Heating’s learning station. He said the field is one he is interested in entering, and he has gained some experience as he occasionally does “putz around in my grandpa’s shed.”
Asa Quartullo, a junior at Marshfield High School, is interested in the IT field and found the day informative.
“First we were at the library, and we were looking at the construction site, and they told us how they’re building it and showed us all the blueprints,” Quartullo said. Though he will not pursue a construction job for the long term, Quartullo said, “It was still a nice experience.”
Neve said the day was an important part of a larger effort to get students thinking about what they want to do after high school and not viewing college as the only option. He also noted that this was not just important for schools to embrace but parents as well.
“Kids are the solution to everything, but we can’t fix it with the kids. We have to fix it with the parents,” Neve said, adding that parents need to be willing to expose their children to construction work as a postsecondary option. “It’s just engrained in our minds, ‘To succeed … you have to go to college.’”
Neve said of working in the construction industry, “You need smart, intelligent people to do what we’re doing.”
Micah McDowell, owner of E.B.E. Masonry, said it is worthwhile to interest young people in his line of work.
“We definitely need to try to inspire young guys to go into the trades,” McDowell said, adding that while some young people are entering the field, “It’s not what it should be for the retirement that’s going to happen in the next few years.”
Neve said workforce shortages in trade and construction jobs need to be addressed sooner than later.
“Pretty soon people are going to call a plumber, and they’re going to wonder why it costs them as much for a plumber as it did for them to call an attorney — because there’s nobody doing it,” Neve said.
Neve said he is a living example of what a construction career can be and why students should consider the field.
“I couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be happier. Thirty-five years of my life doing construction — made a great living,” Neve said. “You don’t lose because you get in construction. You win.”