As schools let out in May and June, remodelers often tap the wealth of high school graduates, who are looking for their first full-time job, for additional labor. According to Floyd Griffin, vice president of human resources for Patio Enclosures, investing in graduates can pay off well after summer vacation’s over. "With our apprentice program, we take a person with a few years of general construction experience and mold them into a position in our company," he says.
This time of year is perfect to advertise openings in junior college and high school placement offices. At nationally operated Patio Enclosures, branch managers establish relationships with placement officers at local trade schools, making sure that the schools have information on the company and its job openings. Attending job fairs is also part of the process.
According to Griffin, the ideal candidate for an apprenticeship is a high school or junior college graduate, who has spent a summer or two working in the construction industry. These candidates will have basic knowledge of mechanical and construction techniques. Apprentices begin working in the first level of a one- to two-year-long program designed to assimilate them into the company.
Griffin asserts that this type of program, with a clear path of advancement and a benefits package, encourages apprentices to stay on as qualified labor. Including benefits, competitive wages and advancement opportunities are key to guaranteeing summer students stay past the season. Demonstrating that a job in the construction industry can teach trade skills in addition to earning money ensures that the labor pool will grow.
"We take young adults and grow them into a more meaningful position in our company," says Griffin. "With today’s job market and economy, the pool of people we draw from is shrinking. This program has helped us get good, strong talent from people looking to grow in the construction area. We get people looking at a total career package."