Path Home Shows 2015 Show Archive October 2015 Show 1540 Construction Careers Pay Above Average

Construction Careers Pay Above Average

SkillsUSA helped Gordon Cooper Technology Center student Kelcy Hunter find her passion in the construction field.
Construction Careers Pay Above Average

Construction Careers Pay Above Average

For more information visit these links:

Gordon Cooper Technology Center


Oklahoma SkillsUSA

AGC of Oklahoma

AGC of America

Show Details

Show 1540: Construction Careers Pay Above Average
Air Date: October 4, 2015



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Well, for anyone who feels ill-suited to sit in an office all day, or even more likely a cubicle, today our focus is on an alternative – two of them to be exact: construction and manufacturing. Two industries that have much in common – to begin with, both industries pay above average wages, yet both struggle finding the workforce they need, often suffering from a simple misconception that working with your hands means somehow not working with your mind. And that could not be further from the truth. We begin today with an industry that is literally all around us and searching for skilled workers. And our Austin Moore introduces us to one of them.

Austin Moore: A lot has happened to Kelcy Hunter since she was a student at Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

[Sawing noise].

Kelcy Hunter: I’m actually a carpenter cross-trained in plumbing. So I’m a framer, and then I do all the plumbing work.

Moore: As a member of SkillsUSA, Hunter and her teammates were then competing to show their mastery of all aspects of the construction trades and holding their heads high as an all-female team.

Let’s make it flat against the board.

Moore: Today, Kelcy’s enthusiasm for the construction industry has only grown.

Hunter: People don’t realize that there’s so much that goes on before a project even mobilizes to the job site.

Moore: Kelcy is a project engineer for Nabholz Construction. We caught up with her along with Project Executive Paul Boren and Project Manager Jonathan Lowery at the site of a new Oklahoma City high school.

Paul Boren: On a project this size, we have a lot of subcontractors that need to be coordinated with, that need to be managed. And for every subcontractor there’s a lot of work that has to be accomplished prior to them even stepping foot on the job. Making sure that when they show up on the job site, that they have the appropriate materials and manpower to achieve the activities they need to achieve.

Jonathan Lowery: Putting the budget together, putting the estimate together, working with the owner to make sure that we’re meeting their expectations, the front-end preliminary schedules.

Moore: Part in the office and part in the field. This is detailed work often unappreciated by the end users of the building, yet something they would certainly notice if it were not done right.

Hunter: If things are delivered to the job site that didn’t get approved and aren’t in the contract documents, that is my responsibility. I’m supposed to make sure that everything conforms to the contract documents because it’s written in the spec and in the drawings for a reason.

Moore: As a project engineer, Kelcy is in training to become a project manager as she builds on her experience.

Boren: Well, in today’s market, what we’re finding is there’s huge competition in the market for qualified people in construction. Not just the people in the field, but also people in the office that manage the projects.

Moore: That shortage of experienced professionals is leaving the door open for newcomers with the right training.

Boren: Anybody who comes into this industry from, at a young age, is going to struggle with not having experience. And it’s just the fact that they haven’t been out in the field, they haven’t seen the products being installed and how they’re installed, and what CareerTech and SkillsUSA offer the students is some early experience in the construction process.

Lowery: It gives them a more well-rounded view of construction. It’s not just paperwork at that point. They understand what’s involved, the physical portion of it.

Hunter: The impact of the TeamWorks Competition was very vital to what, how I operate my position today because I work with a team. And basically we sat in front of an owner, and we told them how are we gonna build this thing in 16 hours. And how are you gonna do it safely? How are you gonna do it according to the drawings? How are you gonna do it? And those are real questions that owners in commercial construction want to know.

Moore: Something Kelcy knows firsthand now that she’s laying the foundation of her own career.

Rob: So what other types of opportunities does the construction industry offer? My first guest has that answer and more when we return.