Carolinas AGC (CAGC) was pleased to support the second summer Construction Careers Camp held recently in Durham, N.C. in partnership with Durham Technical Community College and the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS). Campers represented seven different schools across Durham and Orange counties. Currently, women make up less than 10% of the jobs in construction and African Americans represent an even smaller percentage of the industry’s workforce at just 6.1% (2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics). This year’s diverse group of 10 campers – all rising 9th, 10th, and 11th graders – included two young women; and 8 of the 10 campers were African American.
According to Maryah Smith-Overman, Director of Construction Trades at Durham Tech, “It has been a great opportunity for this group of youth to learn about construction through hands-on work and interaction with local companies and employers. We are pleased to be able to offer this tuition-free camp experience and collaborate with partners within the college, in the high schools and the greater community.”
The week-long camp – held at the Durham Tech campus – was run by faculty at Durham Tech through three experienced instructors and several guests throughout the week. Much of the camp featured hands-on use of construction tools and equipment. Experts in the field came in to lead demonstrations related to plumbing, electrical, welding, and carpentry. The students discussed many ways to get involved in the trades, training opportunities, salaries, and what the day-to-day experience may look like on a job site.
Throughout the week students learned about the importance of planning, design, math and measurement, correct use of tools and materials and, most importantly, how to work effectively as a team. Each day, contractors from the surrounding community helped with instruction and talked about the rewarding careers within their company. C.T. Wilson Construction provided a special drone demonstration; Brown Brothers Plumbing & Heating Co. and Carrboro Plumbing, Inc. led a group project; ClarkNexen presented on Revit; and on the Thursday afternoon campers visited 2 Habitat for Humanity build sites in the neighborhood.
To continue fostering these campers’ interest, CAGC will connect them to local contractors for future internships or pre-apprenticeships. Funding for the camp was provided from a state appropriation to the NCCS for an outreach campaign designed to increase awareness of and interest in construction careers.
CAGC hopes to expand the camp at Durham Tech and create additional summer camps in community colleges throughout North Carolina. If you are interested in working with CAGC to start a camp in your area, please contact CAGC’s Betsy Bailey at email@example.com.
Note: All photos for this story were provided by Durham Tech.