Putting Careers & Technical Education in 𝗙𝗢𝗖𝗨𝗦
Since its formation in 2019, to now operating as a team of 15+, our Team Development Group has grown and evolved over the years to support the goals and initiatives of our entire organization … and industry!
This month, we are celebrating Career & Technical Education Month, so what better time to speak with two of our teammates who help lead these efforts! Suzanna Conrad, Community Relations Coordinator, and Andrea Ribelin, Training & Curriculum Specialist, sat down with us to share how they are connecting with the current and future workforce!
Q: Tell us how long you have been with HGC and share a little bit about your role.
SC: I have been with HGC for almost 2 years. My role focuses on visiting local schools and speaking with students to raise awareness about opportunities and careers in our industry. I am also working on creating an internship program that will help recent high school graduates evaluate different career paths within the sitework industry.
AR: I have been with the team 6 months and am primarily focused on developing and promoting training for our teammates. Our vision is to design career paths for every position at HGC while creating the support and training materials needed throughout the process.
Q: What does CTE month mean to you?
SC: CTE month is a time to highlight a type of education that is critical to filling our current workforce needs. Many jobs do not require a college degree but, instead, require some type of technical training. High schools that can offer that training to their students are helping to increase the employability of those students and helping to prepare those students to be successful in their future careers. My hope is that by highlighting the benefits of this type of education, more schools and districts will see the importance of offering CTE classes to all of their students.
AR: When I think about CTE, I think about the students who have multiple intelligences including design, mathematics, communication skills, artistry, carpentry, etc. A CTE program should take this raw talent and provide the opportunities for students to explore and develop. Having a background in public education, CTE means that students are met where they are ready to learn. Many students choose a career and technology path because they simply enjoy working. Many times, students feel like the only option to obtain a job where they can pay the bills and enjoy a good life requires a college education. This is not the case; especially with a company like HGC!
Q: What is HGC doing differently to address training & development and possible skills gaps?
AR: A tremendous amount! HGC’s training program surpasses any other in our industry. We devote time to develop trainings that add value to our teammates’ lives and job performance. Every one of us can learn something to help us better ourselves and our job performance each day. HGC invests in the person, not just the person as an employee. My goal is for each of our teammates lives to be better at home and at work because of something they learned while at the HGC Academy.
Our simulators provide an opportunity for teammates to grow their operator skills and advance in being versatile on the job site. Our safety-related trainings are designed to educate teammates on safety protocols and procedures so that every teammate goes home each afternoon as healthy as they came to work that morning in order to enjoy their family time.
Q: What is one misconception about the construction industry?
SC: I’ve noticed that young people tend to think that this industry is just for men. At HGC, we are working to break that trend by hiring females for both office and field positions.
AR: One gross misconception is that anyone can do what we do. This could not be farther from the truth! It takes tremendous intelligence, skill, and talent to build the world … and that is exactly what HGC is doing!
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is considering our industry as a career path?
SC: When I talk with students who are considering construction, I encourage them to look for an internship program or a summer job that would allow them to experience our industry first-hand. The best way to decide if a career is right for you is to give it a try!
AR: Be the absolute best at what you pursue and work hard every day! Ask questions, listen more than you speak, take advantage of every chance you have to learn. Take care of your mind, your body, and your spirit. Search for a company like HGC that makes you and your professional growth a priority. And most of all remember … the expert was once the beginner!
Q: What would you like to see next for our industry as it relates to CTE?
AR & SC: We would like to see public schools working more closely with companies to provide authentic learning experiences for CTE students and districts focusing on true career counseling for students who are interested in CTE fields. Identifying students who are interested in these industries and hosting events that connect companies with these students would be a WIN-WIN.