6/26/2019 – There are an estimated 500,000 construction jobs open and begging to be filled in the US today – with more than 40,000 of those available in Connecticut alone, according to recent industry statistics.
Construction companies and clients alike are feeling the impact of a decreasing workforce as project schedules taking far longer to complete due to competition for trade skilled worker.
One area construction firm – KBE Building Corporation – has been doing its part since 2014 to encourage Connecticut’s youth to pursue careers in the design and construction industry. KBE awards scholarships annually to graduating seniors at Connecticut’s Technical High School system, with $71,000 awarded to date.
This year’s awards totaled $18,000, given to 12 technical high school students. The funds will help the students pay for the costs of post-high school education programs in the building design and construction industry. These include trade certification classes for licensure as well as 2- and 4-year degree programs in construction management, architecture, interior design, and engineering.
“The number of young professionals pursuing degrees and certifications in the construction trades is declining and we wanted to support those students who aim to advance their skills in these fields, as well as students pursuing programs in construction management, architecture, and engineering fields,” explains Robert Dunn, Esq., senior vice president of KBE Building Corporation. “As a company, we place a high value on education and mentorship, and these scholarships are a way for us to help Connecticut to grow and maintain a highly skilled construction workforce. We have an intrinsic responsibility to help develop the future workforce of the design and construction industry.”
This is the fourth year that KBE has awarded scholarships to the state’s technical high school students, and to date, has provided $71,000 in awards to 99 students.
“One of the reasons that we do this is to not only encourage people to come into our industry because we need good quality, skilled people,” said Mr. Dunn while addressing the students at the awards ceremony on June 11, 2019 at Farmington Gardens in Farmington. This year’s awardees represented 11 towns and cities throughout Connecticut.
“I can’t stress how important the trade industry is; how important these jobs are to the State of Connecticut,” stated Conn. State Representative Joseph Polletta (R), District 68, who also attended the presentation ceremony. “There’s a need for this line of work in our state. The more we promote it, the better.”
Chris Fryxell, President of Associated Builders and Contractors – CT Chapter, also spoke at the ceremony. “Something I love about the construction industry is that the people within the industry aren’t just dreamers, they’re doers. Whether you are an architect designing a building, or whether you are a project manager or skilled tradesman, you are actually doing the work and putting that dream into something tangible. It’s something that at the end of the day you can look back on and be proud of.”
KBE Building Corporation first awarded scholarships to students from Connecticut Technical High School System in 2014 as part of the firm’s 50 Ways to Make a Difference philanthropic initiative. To be eligible for scholarships, students must be pursuing building industry-related higher education, such as four-year college programs for structural engineering, civil engineering, mechanical/electrical engineering, construction management, or architecture. Students pursuing certification programs for building trades such as electricity, plumbing, or HVAC were also eligible.
As part of its ongoing commitment to education, KBE Building Corporation hosted its third golf tournament on June 25th with proceeds benefitting the firm’s scholarship fund.
“The tournament is a great opportunity for our clients and our peers to rally in support of encouraging students to join our industry,” Dunn said. “We are thankful to all of the players and to our sponsors for joining us in support of this mission.”
Sponsors for KBE Building Corporation’s 2019 Golf Tournament include:
Scholarship Sponsors: Acranom Masonry, Aon Risk Solutions, Central Connecticut Acoustics, CohnReznik, DiBlasi Associates, Readco, XTX Associates, Professional Drywall, Ducci Electric, and MJ Daly.
Other sponsors include: Manafort Brothers Inc., Mizzy Construction, Interior Building Contractors, Daniel’s Caulking, Elite Construction Rentals, Richards Corporation, Butler Co., American Cleaning & Maintenance, B&G Piping, Builders Hardware, BVH Integrated Services, C&H Electric, CMP Exterior, Kone Corporation, Macri Associates, MacKenzie Company, and Universal Foundations.
Pictured (L-R): Enigen Brami, Bristol Technical Education Center; Zachary Jacques, Bristol Technical Education Center; Jonathan Rivera, AI Prince Technical High School; Andrew Barna, Emmett O’Brien Technical High School; Edwin Maldanado, Emmett O’Brien Technical High School; Jonelle Lawhorn, KBE Director of Marketing; Kiernan McGeary, HC Wilcox Technical High School; Chris Fryxell, President of Associated Builders and Contractors – CT Chapter; Karla Chillogalli, Henry Abbott Technical High School; Joseph Polletta (R), Conn. State Representative, District 68; Addison Brown, Harvard Ellis Technical High School; Jennifer Villa, Henry Abbott Technical High School; Erick Huyhua, JM Wright Technical High School; Dylan Magao, Harvard Ellis Technical High School.