Iowa Careers Event Builds Excitement for the Skilled Trades

Filed in Membership, Workforce Development by on April 26, 2021 1 Comment

student brick layingStudents in Iowa recently participated in Build My Future, a construction career day and industry showcase.  The event, hosted by Iowa Skilled Trades, included more than 65 hands-on demonstrations for students from more than 75 schools across the state. The event was made possible through the support of numerous public and private organizations.

iowa governor and alicia huey

Gov. Reynolds and NAHB’s Second Vice Chairman of the Board, Alicia Huey

This year, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and NAHB Second Vice Chairman Alicia Huey joined the event, as well as representatives from 10 home builder associations (HBAs) in Iowa and nearby states.

“The Build My Future event was a wonderful experience. It was really special to share the evening with over 2,700 attendees — students, teachers and NAHB members — to hear about the strides being made in workforce development,” said Huey. “It was also great to help recognize NAHB members who are working hard to get more young people involved in residential construction. This is one of the most important efforts we can be engaged in to protect the future of our industry.”

The daylong event kicked-off with safety training, and each participant was issued their own personal protective equipment. Afterwards, students were encouraged to explore any of the activities available inside or outside the exhibition hall. In addition to residential construction, the event highlighted job opportunities in industries that do not require a four-year degree such as trucking and emergency services.

signing commitment“What a great way to highlight the importance of the trades industry and to give our students an opportunity to see first-hand the incredible jobs and opportunities that exist right here in Iowa, which will help us grow our communities as well as our economy,” said Governor Reynolds in an interview recapping the event.

A highlight of the event was “Skilled Trades Signing Day,” a ceremony designed to invite students to make the commitment to pursue a path in the skilled trades by the following year. Governor Reynolds signed each of the student’s commitment certificates.

industry leaders

NAHB, HBA and industry association leaders: Gwynn Ready, Rachel Andrews, Mona Peiffer, Karyl Bohnsack, Dan Knoup, Alicia Huey, Steph Reed, Terri Schelm and Charlyce Ruth

Dan Knoup, executive officer of the HBA of Greater Des Moines, encourages other HBAs to host similar workforce development programs in their community. “Build My Future is absolutely the best idea I ever got from an NAHB meeting!” Knoup said. “Bring this event to your community and you will not regret it. The kids energize everyone involved and it is easily the most fulfilling event we host each year.”

For more highlights of the day, view the photos and a short video of the event.


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  1. David G BROWN says:

    If the federal or state governments are going to pay for schooling, I’d like to see government pay for trade schooling. If you can go to college great, but if you can go to college you can get scholarships or already have the money or can pay for it as yo go like I did. Stop loans for college. Provide low or no interest loans for trade schools. I would prefer to see school loans waived for people going to trade schools than for individuals going to college.

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