Why a workforce shortage: To find new employees, start with the educators

Written with the assistance of the National Asphalt Pavement Association Graphics courtesy of National Asphalt Pavement Association

In a student’s formative years, parents and teachers play a significant role. The vast majority of students spend five days a week for nearly nine months a year in school until age 18. Teachers, guidance counselors, and other educators become key influencers in the decision’s students make regarding future careers. Whether it is educators, friends or media, how we influence others is largely informed on what we know and our exposure to it. NAPA Report 227, a survey and messaging completed by GolINET, demonstrated the urgency for informing educators about the road construction industry.

In initial perception testing, educators had overwhelmingly negative perceptions of road construction. Except for knowing that road construction employed thousands of Americans, educators saw construction as “dirty or labor-intensive work” and “dangerous work.” However, after informative messaging about the industry, the attitude of educators quickly changed. Not only was the negative perception of road construction reduced, but the positive attributes skyrocketed. The most significant changes in positive perception revolved around on-the-job skills training and the variety of job opportunities.

With the number of requirements placed on educators to perform their jobs, it is clear the road construction industry must step up to attract the future workforce. But how? Here are a few simple things to consider—develop educational and informational materials for teachers to use and share, attend job fairs at high school, and present at career days. Students and educators need to know that the road construction industry does not provide only jobs but careers.

To learn more about NAPA Special Report 227, visit the NAPA website.