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Engineering a Brighter Future for the Trades

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2/6/2024

Every year, DiscoverE celebrates National Engineers Week in late February, and 2024 is no different. This year’s celebration, which takes place from Feb. 18-24, 2024, has a theme particularly relevant to the construction industry: Welcome to the Future.

While Engineers Week is always intended to spread awareness about the profession, this year’s theme puts a particular emphasis on “paving the way for a brighter and more diverse future in engineering.” One of the key ways the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) wants to create this future is by facilitating outreach to students, particularly girls, who were historically steered away from engineering. This aligns with a school of thought that has been rising among contractors and subcontractors: by promoting the trades to students starting in elementary and middle school, more students will opt for a career in the trades. The idea is to let students know early that there are many pathways that use Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), including the trades  Contractors have also been placing an emphasis on the fact that the trades are part of STEM, which is a field many students want to engage in but aren’t always aware that the trades offer such opportunities.

Preparations for Engineers Week 2024 have already been underway for months, with DiscoverE hosting a kickoff webinar for both Engineers Week and Girl Day 2024 back in October. In the webinar, they announced the theme of Welcome to the Future and that Girls Day falls during the celebratory week on Feb. 22, 2024. The presenter provided suggestions on how to encourage students to pursue engineering, which can very easily be adapted to fit the trades.

During Engineers Week, DiscoverE encourages you to connect with students to share your passion for STEM and the trades, and they’ve made a number of resources available that you can use. If possible, you should make your way to a classroom or afterschool program to give students direct exposure to the work you do and the people who do it. You could also host your own engineering event where parents can bring their kids to experience hands-on engineering activities that revolve around the trades, giving them a sense of how creative and hands-on they really are.

All of the resources available on DiscoverE’s website can be adapted for your business, no matter your specialty. There are numerous resources dedicated to introducing girls to your profession, which has been a major goal of the trades at large in the face of the workforce shortage. By partnering with school and local organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, you can spread the word that construction is a lucrative career path and that it’s for anyone. Be sure to keep in mind pitching the trades as a STEM career as parents, teachers and guidance counselors will latch onto that terminology.

This National Engineers Week, take it upon yourself to spread the trades in your community, and you’ll see the interest in what you do surge. The future of not only engineering, but the trades at large are here, and you have a starring role in it.

Photo credit:  HOWTOGOTO/BIGSTOCKPHOTO.COM

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