“JUST BUILD IT!” Construction Career Expo





October 26, 2016

Eastern Michigan Convocation Center


  • Looking for a career in an industry that will grow faster than most others in the coming years?
  • Looking for career where you can work and earn a living while receiving your education?
  • Looking for a career in an industry that cannot be outsourced to another country?
  • Looking for a career that provides the satisfaction of being able to actually see the results of your efforts for years to come?

These are just a few of the benefits of careers in the construction industry that 1766 eighth through twelfth grade students and young adults from 51 schools and youth programs located throughout southeast and central Michigan learned about at the “JUST BUILD IT!” Construction Career Expo. While at the Expo they were able to:


– Learn design principles using blocks, paper, drinking straws and other materials
– Solder pipes
– Lay bricks and finish cement
– Discover how engineers contribute to construction projects
– Operate construction equipment using a simulator
– Learn how impervious concrete works
– Race journeymen apprentices in nailing contests
– Try out CAD design and engineering programs
– Help raise a small scale timber barn
– Learn about interior design
– Operate power tools


In addition to trying their hand at the work done in all three aspects of the construction industry – architecture, engineering and the skilled trades — the students learned what education and training is needed for these careers. They discovered that:

Skilled trade workers receive their training through apprenticeship programs that last between two and five years

Apprentices earn great pay and full fringe benefits throughout a skilled trade apprenticeship program. Many programs even pay their apprentices their regular wage for their classroom training time

Many new construction career opportunities are available in the emerging alternative energy fields

Math and science courses are very important if you want to work in construction. In fact, you need to complete algebra before you can even apply to the electrical apprenticeship program


Computer training is important in construction because they are used throughout the industry for tasks such as cost estimating, scheduling, design, drafting and accounting

High school building programs are available in many school districts to give students hands-on building experience while they are still in school

There are many colleges and universities in Michigan that offer degrees related to construction such as architecture, engineering and construction management; and that scholarships are available for these programs

After completing their college degree, engineers and architects both need to complete an extensive internship program before they can take the exam required to be licensed in their field

Careers in construction can be very financially rewarding, with skilled construction workers with Journeyman status earning wages similar to the salary of someone with a Bachelor’s Degree


Exhibitors at the 2016 JUST BUILD IT! Construction Career Expo included skilled trade apprentices, engineers, architects, general contractors, subcontractors, colleges, universities, and construction associations. (A list of exhibitors is provided below.) The Expo provided a career exploration experience that is impossible to duplicate in a traditional educational setting.

The JUST BUILD IT! Construction Career Expo was presented by the Washtenaw Contractors Association in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Transportation. The Major Sponsors for the Expo included Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local #2, Laborers Local #499 LECET Fund, Mechanical Contractors Association of Detroit, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, Michigan Works! Southeast, Operating Engineers Local 324 LMEC Fund, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 190, RAM Construction Services, SE Michigan Community Alliance – Michigan Works!, Washtenaw Community College, Residential Construction Program. Expo Supporters included Ann Arbor Student Building Industry Program, Black & Veatch, Builders & Remodelers Association of Greater Ann Arbor, IBEW Local 252/NECA Labor Management Cooperation Fund, and Michigan Statewide Carpenters & Millwrights Joint Apprenticeship & Training Fund. The Expo was also financially supported by 36 additional construction industry companies and organizations.