(Kearney, Neb.; April 19, 2019) — When high school graduates think about long-term, lucrative careers, construction worker may not be at the top of their minds.
That’s unfortunate, says Linette Butler, general manager of BD Construction, a commercial construction firm in Kearney.
“Nationally, construction employment increased by 16,000 jobs in March and by 246,000 jobs over the past year,” Butler said. “We have a huge demand for workers to fill those jobs.”
That demand leads to higher wages. “Nebraska construction workers make 13 percent more money than other private business employees,” Butler explains. “The average yearly pay for a Nebraska construction worker was $47,400 in 2016.
Construction is also a field where employees can start with no experience.
“We provide on-the-job training for new crew members who have never worked in construction before.” Butler says that’s not uncommon across the construction industry. “All a person needs to start is responsibility, good work ethic, eager to learn and the ability to take direction.”
“Some of the greatest success stories at BD Construction are guys who started right out of high school with no experience Denny worked his way from laborer to owner and now to semi-retired project manager. This will be his 53rd year in construction. Rick has been promoted throughout the years and is now Field Operations Director. He will celebrate 35 years with BD Construction this year,” Butler explains.
BD Construction is inviting the public to attend a hiring event/career fair on Tuesday, April 30 to learn more about working in construction. From 1 to 7 p.m., interested applicants can stop in to BD Construction’s offices at 209 E. 6th St in Kearney and meet with a hiring manager, learn about open positions and long-term career growth opportunities with BD, benefits and pay.
“At 5:30 p.m., anyone who wants to learn about careers in the construction industry is invited to come and hear from our field crew. These team members will share personal stories of their different career paths, levels of education and job duties. This is a good opportunity for everyone from high school students to adults wanting a career change,” Butler said.
Butler, who has worked in construction for more than 20 years, is an advocate for the industry. “Commercial construction jobs are well-paid, respectable careers. I think many people would be surprised about the rewards of working in construction. It’s not only a well-paying job, but you also have pride in knowing that you help build hospitals, clinics, schools and businesses. It’s pretty cool to drive past a building and know that you played a role in constructing it.”
Butler shared one of her favorite quotes, which comes from Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame. “You can’t work in the corner office is no one is willing to build it.”