October is National Careers in Construction Month, and the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation is taking steps to raise awareness of opportunities among industry and education leaders while introducing students to rewarding construction careers.

Spearheaded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and declared by Gov. Phil Bryant as an official, month-long observance in Mississippi, the annual initiative includes a broad range of partners aggressively working to combat shortages of craft professionals across the country.

 “By 2019, Mississippi will need more than 80,000 craft professionals to meet the needs of the state's growing construction industry,” said MCEF President Mike Barkett. “Now more than ever is the time to promote construction careers in our state.”

 MCEF is the state's leading provider of craft training in high schools, community colleges and apprenticeship programs and partners with the state Department of Education to deliver training to 5,000 high school students enrolled in more than 100 career and technical education centers. MCEF also has articulation agreements with 15 community colleges that enable graduates of the organization’s four-year apprentice program to receive up to 32 academic hours.

“What must change are our attitudes,” said Barkett. “We’re working hard to remove the stigma that is too often associated with career and technical education by reframing these careers in the light they deserve. Modern construction and manufacturing jobs are cutting-edge, technologically advanced, academically rigorous and high paying.”

Throughout October, MCEF will celebrate Careers in Construction Month by inviting the public to discover the work it is doing to create a more promising future for all Mississippians.

“We believe that the more Mississippians know about career and technical education, the more likely they’ll speak positively about construction and manufacturing careers in their communities,” said Barkett. “When more parents, school leaders and employers become knowledgeable about the rewards of career and technical education, there's a good chance that more young people across Mississippi will pursue careers in construction and manufacturing.”