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.

Career Pathway Report

Industry Overview

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.

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 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)

JEA Women In Trade

America needs more skilled trade workers and increasingly women are being groomed to fill that need.

At JEA, Jacksonville’s community-owned utility, an employee resource group called Women in Trade works to ensure JEA can provide reliable electric, water and sewer services to our community. The group’s members frequently speak to young women at Jacksonville high schools and colleges to tout the benefits of choosing a trade career.

“We want young women to know that we will train you and help you learn a trade,” said David Emanuel, JEA’s Chief Human Resource Officer and co-chair of Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s Talent Advancement Network. “We offer well-paying jobs with opportunities for advancement. JEA is a great place to work.”

Just ask Carissa Seay, a Wastewater Reuse Treatment E&I technician. Her job is to inspect wastewater facilities in order to verify systems and equipment are working properly, and to make repairs as needed. “If you had told me in high school or college that I would be doing this as a career, I would have laughed,” said Seay, who graduated from Yulee High School and UNF. “Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Janelle Thomas-Hatch echoes that sentiment. “I believe more women should give non-traditional trade roles a chance,” said Thomas-Hatch, a Jacksonville native with a degree from Flagler College, who has worked at JEA for 13 years. “They can be very rewarding.”

Thomas-Hatch helps control the systems that keep JEA power plants working and ensures the facilities are operational and safe. She is a Safety SHAPE representative, a volunteer position that advocates and champions safety in in the workplace.

Thomas-Hatch and Seay both worked in other fields before pursuing their trade careers. Both first heard about working in trades from men who worked in the field. And both possessed skills, such as adaptability, critical thinking and patience that have helped them succeed in their trade.

“I enjoy the trouble-shooting aspect of my job,” Thomas-Hatch said.

“My job is rewarding because what I do directly impacts the community,” Seay said.

Thomas-Hatch and Seay started their training through the apprenticeship program at the Electrical Training Alliance of Jacksonville. After completing the five-year program, both women earned their professional licenses. At JEA, their professional training continues with JEA’s state-certified training programs.

JEA invests in the community by offering high school and college students a variety of apprenticeships, internships and mentoring programs. These programs provide hands-on experience for students, preparing them to become highly trained professionals in their field.

Thomas-Hatch encourages students interested in trade careers to explore opportunities in career and technical education programs offered at local high schools. Learn more on

“If your school doesn’t offer a program, look for an internship,” said Thomas-Hatch.

Volunteering can also help those interested test the waters to see if they enjoy working in the trades. Seay recommends volunteering for organizations like Habitat for Humanity that work outside and use a variety of tools. Above all, Seay says don’t be intimated.

“We love what we do, and we would love to see more women working in the trades,” she said.

"Power of Three"

Story by Allen Allnoch

Meet a few Construction Ready training graduates and a common theme quickly emerges: The program opens doors, both professionally and personally.

For Laquresha Prince, that means “much more opportunity than I would have had before. I’m grateful for that, because now I can have a career that puts me in a good position, and not only me, but my kids as well.”

Prince, mother to twin sons, was part of the Jaguars Group 4 class that graduated in Jacksonville in early November 2022.

For Marina Westcott, one of Prince’s fellow classmates, earning a Construction Ready education and the eight credentials that go with it is the gateway to “a career path, so I won’t have to work so many jobs.” Westcott has worked at a recycling company, at a Waffle House, and as an Uber driver, sometimes all in the same day.

Westcott and Prince, along with another female classmate, Courtney Davis, found encouragement in one another as they worked through the challenging 20-day curriculum.

Davis recalls feeling discouraged in the early days, but “as I got to know my classmates and these beautiful young ladies, they helped push me through,” she says.

Prince also found motivation by keeping the big picture in mind. As she recalls, “There were times where it was just like, I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to go to class, but just knowing what you are going to get out of it made it easier to actually show up and go through with the program.”

Training – and ultimately working – in a male-dominated industry can be intimidating, but by they time they graduated, it was clear this trio of women had earned their male counterparts’ respect. Many of the men in the class said as much in their graduation remarks.

“We were like a bunch of brothers and sisters,” says Westcott, whose job placement was with HB Next, a provider of training, safety and environmental compliance solutions. Like all graduates, she finished the training not only with basic construction skills, but as a better-prepared professional in general.

“This whole program gave us the tools that we needed,” Westcott says. “Even things we didn’t even know that we didn’t know – resumes and interviewing … we needed all that.”

Partnerships make successful training environments such as this possible. In Jacksonville, the National Football League’s Jaguars provided initial funding and brought the program to the city in early 2022, creating a win-win situation for both jobseekers and industry. With regard to the latter, Construction Ready provided a new labor source not only for area contractors, but for the Jaguars themselves, who are building a state-of-the-art training and operations facility, the Miller Electric Center, adjacent to their home field, TIAA Bank Stadium. And the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) provided scholarships that enabled these three women to go through the program.

Now Westcott can set new goals, one of which is helping her father.

“I just really want to be able to hand him a $50,000 check and say, ‘Please retire.’ That’s my main goal. I want him to retire, and I want him to be happy and proud of me and all the rest of his kids.”

Davis and Prince have their own goals as well. Prince nicely sums up her post-graduation circumstances with a construction analogy. Asked what she wants to do next, she says, “To be bigger and better – to reach for the stars. Or should I say, reach for the scaffold?”

"A Winning Game Plan"

Story by Allen Allnoch

Before he ever laid eyes on Jabril Mathis, Tim Mosley had a hunch the young man was a good candidate to fit in at The Haskell Company.

Haskell, an architecture, engineering, construction and consulting firm headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, was seeking to fill positions at the Miller Electric Center job site, where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ training and administrative complex is slated for a summer 2023 opening.

Mosley, the company’s Senior Manager for Field Personnel, says “Jabril really stood out” as he looked through a set of resumes in preparation for a Construction Ready hiring fair in the fall of 2022.

As Mosley recalls, “Our training director had looked at Jabril, too, and he cut to the chase and said, ‘I want to know who you picked; here’s my picks.’ And his first pick was Jabril as well. So we could see there was potential, the two of us seeing something in someone who was willing to learn.”

The interest, it turned out, ran both ways. In fact, before Jabril even set foot in the Construction Ready classroom, he had an eye toward a career at Haskell.

“Going into the program I saw that Haskell was one of the sponsors, and in my mind I was already thinking I would like to work for them,” Jabril says. “I always said I wanted to be in design and building construction, and Construction Ready put me on that path toward getting there. Without Construction Ready I wouldn’t have been able to connect with Haskell the way I wanted to.”

When Jabril showed up at the hiring fair, he confirmed Mosley’s initial impressions.

“Again, he stood out above the rest,” Mosley says. “He had this interest in design, so you could tell he had a little bit of creativity to him and a willingness to learn, not just wanting a job. He spoke well, asked the right questions. We continued the conversation probably 30 or 45 minutes, just because it was so nice to meet someone that has potential.”

Jabril landed the job, and while he came into it with no construction experience, he had already shown he was eager to learn throughout his time in the Construction Ready pre-apprenticeship program.

“I hadn’t been in school in a while, so I liked that I was learning again, especially something that I had a lot of interest in already,” he says. “And there were Lunch and Learns where you hear from different companies. I liked seeing the different ins and outs of what those companies do.”

Each day on the job site has been a process of continuing education for Jabril. Clearly a thoughtful young man, he came up with an insightful analogy to describe his work.

“Starting off they had me doing just basic things,” Jabril says, “but I like to think that what I’m doing kind of coincides with my own education. Like when I was laying foundations [for the Jaguar facilities], I was also laying a foundation for my career. When I’m setting forms, I’m forming myself, too – I’m learning different things every day.”

Assistant Superintendent Alfredo de la Cruz, Jabril’s direct supervisor, echoes Mosley’s comments about Jabril’s potential.

“He’s been doing really good,” de la Cruz says. “I like his attitude. I see Jabril years from now in a different position. He’s willing to learn, he’s always there to help, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”

Jabril’s story is a great example of how Construction Ready’s pre-apprenticeship program can jumpstart a career in a hurry. In his case, a college football career at Florida Atlantic University had not worked out. The Jacksonville native was back in his hometown working in security when he began researching construction careers.

“I found a few different programs and apprenticeships, then I came across Construction Ready,” he remembers. “It was the quickest one – it said you could get hired for a construction job in like 30 days. So I applied and I got a call from someone who said there would be a class coming up in October.”

The training – actually it’s 20 days – provides instruction in basic construction skills, up to eight industry-recognized credentials, and those all-important connections to real employers who are hiring for real jobs. The best matches come when graduates are willing to keep learning, and employers – such as Haskell – are willing to help them do so.

“This company identifies people who have potential, and they will help develop that,” Mosley confirms. “We want to show them that this is a career. I believe Jabril is definitely taking the steps to continue, so we want to advance his education, get him experience on the job sites, and give him a little bit more [responsibility]. So far it’s been working great.”

A bonus for Jabril is that his first on-the-job experience was helping build a facility for the Jaguars, his lifelong favorite team.

“I mean, grew up in a teal-colored room,” he says, referring to the Jaguars’ distinct primary color. “Just being out here is cool to me, because knowing I’m helping build their practice facility, that sticks with me.”

So far it’s working out just as he envisioned: “It was cool that I had [working for Haskell] in mind, and now I’m here.”