Construction

The skilled trades are one of the most in-demand job classes in the world today and provide an opportunity to create a strong, high-paying career  As shown by the Career Pathway report below, an individual can plug into a career in the ever-growing construction industry in a variety of ways. Many construction jobs can be obtained with a high school diploma.  An individual could also choose to pursue certificates or licensures, an associate degree in architectural design/construction technology or engineering technology, a bachelor’s degree in finance, construction, engineering, or management.

A fantastic way to achieving a career in the trades is through an apprenticeship, a learn while you earn model that offers tremendous value to the apprentice as well as his or her employer of choice. Apprenticeship is a system for training a new generation in a trade or profession with on-the-job training and accompanying study. Apprenticeships typically result in a certification or journeyman status to practice in a regulated occupation. Training is done while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade or profession.

Apprenticeship positions are available across a number of skill sets in the Jacksonville area, allowing people to begin working in a variety of construction job roles, such as Carpenter, Electrician, HVAC Installer, Ironworker, Plumber, Pipefitter and Sheet Metal Worker.

Construction jobs occurs both in commercial and residential operations.  A job in the construction industry can vary.  From designing a bridge, to estimating the cost of a residential project, to building major thoroughfares such as the First Coast Expressway, there are a multitude of options that will result in a fruitful and fulfilling career.

Construction workers, project managers, laborers, and skilled craftsmen are needed to build infrastructure across the region. These high-demand roles are well-paying.  They define and shape the landscape of the Northeast Florida region through lasting impact.

Review the Career Pathway information below to learn more about careers in Construction.

Resources

Construction Career Pathway Report

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Construction Overview

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Look at your skill set. Determine where there are gaps. Decide what it will take to fill those gaps and be willing to do the work that others are not willing to do.

Ashley SzczukowskiMarand Construction, Business Development Manager

Construction is rewarding...to see the progress and know that building a hospital for children will impact the community for years to come.

Erin VirginElectrician Apprentice

As the needs grow in our community, so does the need for our young men and women in our area to learn about and pursue a career in the Construction and Engineering professions.

Janet DuffyDocuments Manager, Eisman & Russo, Inc.

Graduate debt-free with four years of working experience and 2,000 hours of OJT each program year.

Northeast Florida Builder’s Association (NEFBA)

Erin Virgin

Electrical Apprentice at Electrical Training Alliance of Jacksonville

After studying at Eastern Illinois University and transferring to Southeast Missouri State University to complete a bachelor of science in Business Administration, as well as spending nearly a decade in the mortgage loan processing industry, Erin Virgin chose another career path. “I was ready for a change. I wanted to work with my hands. I felt that electricity would be an interesting and challenging career,” said Erin.

Erin is a third-year electrician apprentice at the Electrical Training Alliance of Jacksonville (ETA). This apprenticeship program offers work-based learning on site with veteran electricians as well as trade-related classroom and online learning. The program allows students to earn while they learn about the craft--all without incurring any debt.

Electrical professionals are employed in many capacities such as telephone and computer infrastructure, audio-visual installation, and electrical facility maintenance. According to etajax.org, electrical professionals “install, provide and maintain the backbone of power and information system’s needs.”

In 2018, Erin applied for and was accepted into the ETA’s apprenticeship program. Currently, she is halfway through her third year of a five-year program. Erin is working on a new construction build for Baptist Hospital, helping to build a Newborn Intensive Care Unit and a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (NICU/PICU). A typical day involves reporting to the job site at 7 AM and working 10 hours per day. This overtime is essential in completing the project. Erin also attends school twice a week in the evening.

Juggling this hectic schedule has its rewards, however. Erin enjoys the format, stating, “I really enjoy working in the field while going to school. I can directly apply what I am learning in the classroom on the job. Being involved in new construction is rewarding to see the progress and know your work building a hospital for children will impact the community for years to come.”

Making this career pathway change meant that Erin took a more physically demanding job rather than working at her computer desk each day. After some adjustment time, however, she truly enjoys a more active workday. Ultimately, the apprenticeship has opened many doors she hadn’t previously considered and has offered the chance to try several different aspects of electrical work. The future is exciting, as Erin has considered getting into solar and installing chargers for electric vehicles.

“I would encourage anyone, especially women, to get into the trade. It is a lot of hard work. Working full time and going to school isn’t easy, but you will be on a path to an amazing career. Being an electrician has so many different aspects to it, and the work is always changing and evolving with technology. It’s exciting to think about where this will lead in the future!”

At the completion of the apprenticeship, graduates receive 30 credits toward an AS degree in Industrial Management Technology at Florida State College of Jacksonville. So, individuals wishing to pursue a degree can leverage these credits toward developing their career pathway.

Janet Duffy

Documents Manager, Eisman & Russo, Inc.

Construction Career Days, held in February each year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, engages 11th and 12th graders. Over the course of three days, over 3,000 students in 11 counties throughout the region participate in learning labs, use equipment, and can ask questions of industry professionals. Every student is encouraged to attend these events, regardless of their interest in transportation construction or engineering, as there are jobs in accounting, project management, human resource management, and marketing that exist in the construction industry as well.

According to Janet Duffy of Eisman & Russo, Inc., “As the needs grow in our community, so does the need for our young men and women in our area to learn about and pursue a career in the Construction / Engineering profession. The Department of Transportation and the Transportation Industry have teamed together to put on a one-of-a-kind event to show high school students the many great career opportunities that exist so hopefully they will pursue a careers in our industry.”

Duffy is one of the many event organizers and volunteers who makes the event shine. Contractors, engineers and utility companies share their expertise with students each year to plant seeds in the hopes of growing interest in construction-related occupations.
The event is a partnership between the Florida Transportation Builders Association (FTBA), Industry Partners, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Students will interact with the industry via over 50 learning labs. Over 20 exhibitors are on hand as well. Students are given the opportunity to operate heavy equipment and learn more about scholarship opportunities offered by the NEFL Construction Career Days.

Northeast Florida Builder's Association (NEFBA)

Apprenticeship Program

According to Northeast Florida Builder’s Association’s (NEFBA) website, apprenticeships offer a multitude of benefits to “Earn While You Learn,” including:

• Structured training system registered with the Florida Department of Education’s Workforce Development Division.
• 10 percent hourly rate increase every year of the program paid by the employer.
• Job placement assistance upon complete application submission.
• 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year of the program.
• Graduate debt-free with four years of working experience in the second fastest growing industry in Florida.

NEFBA Apprenticeship partners with the Jacksonville Campus of Keiser University to offer workforce development career training in the form of paid apprenticeships. In 2016, Keiser and NEFBA won the “Innovator in Education” award through the Jacksonville Business Journal for their contribution to the industry.

In 2017, NEFBA Apprenticeship began participating with the Florida State Apprenticeship Grant program. As a participant, NEFBA has an articulation agreement in place with Florida State College of Jacksonville for three of their A.S. degree programs. Graduates of the NEFBA Apprenticeship program can be awarded up to 27 credit hours of college credit towards a 60 hour A.S. degree upon completion of any of NEFBA’s apprenticeship programs. This is an especially attractive option for apprentices who entered the program having previously completed college courses in high school or another college or university.