A few months ago, Dallas Builders Association president Michael Turner of Classic Urban Homes voiced a desire to address a need for more skilled workers by working with Dallas ISD to train and mentor students.
In February, Turner began to reach out. “We have builders that are willing to mentor high school kids,” he said then, calling the push to work with local schools “probably my biggest initiative.”
And in a few short months, Turner is beginning to see that come to fruition. In March, he and Dallas Builders Association executive officer Phil Crone met with Doug Palmer and Cody Seabolt, instructors with Skyline High School’s construction trades program.
Despite the fact that Skyline has more than 4,400 students, Crone and Turner found that less than 40 were currently enrolled in the construction trades program, despite the demand for skilled workers.
“These kids are going to be very valuable on the job site, especially because most are bilingual,” Palmer told the DBA, adding that several recent graduates are now working on large commercial projects in Dallas.
Turner and Crone had a chance to talk to the students, and came away determined to help Skyline grow its program.
“We had a great conversation with them about their program and their students,” he said. “We were glad to see that the program was expanding to a larger area. Programs like these are the future of our industry.”
This month, Turner and the DBA hosted students from the school’s program at one of his company’s build sites in North Dallas.
Also on hand? Subcontractors and contractors looking to fill out their work crews.
After touring the home and lunching on pizza, the students began working the room for internships and summer jobs.
“I want to get into electrical work,” one student said.
“I want to have my own crew some day,” another explained. Several said they had gotten some job offers that afternoon and had contact information from more employers as well.
The construction trades students aren’t the only ones preparing to join the skilled workforce after getting a diploma from Dallas ISD. The district says that students earning certifications numbered 6,438 last year, up 6,128 from just five short years ago.