The Chicagoland AGC Golf Outing on June 27 raised $40,000 for the Chicagoland Construction Scholarship Foundation. The event at the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont attracted 200 golfers..
The 2008 recession left the industry with unemployed workers that never returned coupled with a generation of younger workers desiring to pursue a four-year college degree and white-collar careers. As the baby-boomer generation retires, a booming commercial construction market faces a severe labor shortage.
In a 2017 survey conducted by the AGC of America, 72 percent of Midwest contractors expressed difficulty filling labor positions, and 38 percent had trouble filling salaried field positions.
The Chicagoland Associated General Contractors (CAGC) said in a news release it is working to reduce the labor shortage and promote the industry as a viable and lucrative career option. One way it has done this is through the creation of the Chicagoland Construction Scholarship Foundation.
The foundation has awarded more than $36,000 to 70 college students working toward a construction-focused degree since its inception in 2002.
One scholarship recipient Arianna Roldan, of Wheeling High School, was first introduced to engineering through the school’s “Project Lead the Way” course. Roldan, like many young people, perceived construction as dangerous, exhaustive work under difficult conditions. Once enrolled, she realized many of the stereotypes surrounding the industry were untrue.
“Construction workers are detail-oriented, creative, motivated, hard-working, and innovative,” Roldan said. “Construction encompasses all of our infrastructure demands, including hospitals, municipal work, restoration, hospitality, government projects, etc. The reality is that much of the work requires advanced skills and education, which is why construction should be thought of as a career and not just a job.”
Roldan continues to pursue engineering coursework at the University of Illinois and will intern this summer at member company Bulley & Andrews.
Another recipient, Igor Drab, explained there are many students that cannot afford to go to college. “Their talents aren’t being utilized in developing and innovating new methods in the construction industry. Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to finish my senior year with honors, said Drab. Drab is planning to go back to school and earn his MBA to help further his career.
For more information about the scholarship, please visit the Chicagoland AGC webpage at www.cagc.org/scholarships. Great careers don’t always start
with a four-year degree. For those looking to enter into the commercial construction industry with hands-on experience, visit: buildillinois.com to learn more about apprenticeship opportunities.