Construction businesses seek to attract high school students to industry with shortage of workers

Build Your Future

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Over 1,000 students from 60 high schools throughout Louisiana attended a construction industry career fair at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales on Wednesday.

Employers like Trey Crawford of Grady Crawford Construction in Baton Rouge love to see events like this. He says the industry has shortage of workers trained for jobs like welding.

“Everybody wants to be a doctor or a lawyer,” Crawford said. “We need people that want to be welders, pipe fitters, equipment operators. You can look in the newspaper and everybody is looking for qualified help.”

Several organizations partnered to make the event possible, including the Association of Builders and Contractors.

“It’s different than sitting in a classroom and seeing pictures of it,” said Justin Goins, membership director for the group’s Arkansas chapter. “Seeing it in a book or seeing their dad come home at night, they actually get to get in here and feel what the joysticks feel like.” Goins is considering hosting a similar event sometime in the future.

They’ve already convinced Zachary High School sophomore Carly Giannobile. She wants to be a welder, and even picked up some business cards at the expo. The instructor even told her she was the best he had seen all day.

“It’s kind of a relaxer for me,” Giannobile said. “Like if I’ve had a stressful day and then I go and weld, like whenever I melt the rod into the metal, it’s like... all my problems are melting into there.”

Organizers hope to host the event again next year.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.