ABC Construction

Students practice mobile crane operations using a simulator at Construction Career Days 2018.

Hundreds of high school students from six parishes got a first-hand look at the potential construction careers available in Southwest Louisiana during Construction Career Days 2018.

The two-day event took place Oct. 23 and 24 at the Pelican Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. ABC currently has 15 different classes throughout Southwest Louisiana where high school juniors and seniors can earn National Center for Construction Education and Research credentials.

Many students who attended the event have already chosen a career and technical education pathway for the rest of their time in high school as part of the state’s Jumpstart initiative, said Blaise Theard, workforce development specialist.

Letting students see the educational possibilities after high school is important because construction career professionals are in high demand, and ABC has a direct line of contact with the area’s industries and contractors, Theard said. Students already enrolled in a Jumpstart course with ABC may only need a few months worth of training upon graduation to begin working.

“We are steered by the plants and contractors as to what they need and what’s in demand,” he said. “We’re only training for jobs that are out there.”

The students learned about specific crafts and trades that maintain the area’s plants: welding, millwright, electrical instrumentation, pipe fitting, scaffolding building and heavy equipment operating.

Students said they enjoyed seeing what the “real work” looks like.

While touring the facilities, they were able to touch, test and question the various hands-on equipment available at the training center.

“We are committed to training the next generation of construction workers,” said Kirby Bruchhaus, director of education, noting the increased need for local skilled laborers.

“When all of this started, there were about 4,200 people working in maintenance. Now, when it’s all said and done, we’re thinking that it’s probably going to go up to 8,500 to 9,500. The need’s going to almost double.”

More from this section

JENNINGS — A $7.5 million Southwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery being built in Jennings is scheduled to open this spring to provide burial places for 1,777 veterans and their spouses.

  • Updated

The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office released new crime statistics this week to argue against a list recently released by the FBI declaring the city of Leesville as the tenth most dangerous city in the state.On Thursday, Sheriff Sam Craft released statistics compiled by his office that reflect…

  • Updated

Construction has begun on the first new public high school in Lake Charles in 50 years, Lake Charles College Prep. Located at 2801 Power Centre Parkway, the 80,000 square foot facility will accommodate 600 ninth-12th grade students enrolled in the charter school.

  • Updated

Three years ago, Bella Ortego was born 12 weeks early and spent six weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at Christus Ochsner Lake Area Hospital.

  • Updated

It looks like the third time really is the charm for Micky Smith Jr. who was recently named the 2020 Grammy Music Educator Award winner. After a "disappointing loss" in the 2019 finals, Mickey said the win feels absolutely "surreal."