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Pathways to Careers in Construction By Sean O’Keefe Exciting and ever-changing, there has never been a better time to get into construction and here’s how...
  Bryan Cook
Bryan Cook got his start in the construction industry at the age of 18 at a heavy civil construction company through a work/study program and he has been in it ever since.
“I was running a scraper worth nearly a million dollars a few weeks after I started and fell in love with the industry,” says Cook fondly of the spark that ignited his passion. Today,
Under Cook’s leadership, the CEF is blossoming into a full- fledged force in Colorado’s construction community by creating and administering programs to recruit, develop, and educate a diverse pool of construction professionals. With support from AGC members and both public and private sector industry partnerships, the CEF provides
a series of programs that provide a pathway to careers in construction while preparing today’s learners for tomorrow’s challenges.
Taking a multi-level approach to recruitment and retention, the CEF offers a variety of programs designed to engaged and train the future workforce from the ground up including the following.
High School Construction Connection (HSCC): Allowing direct industry
interaction, the HSCC program connects students from 30 Colorado High Schools with volunteer firms willing to host job site tours and job shadow days. With a focus on first-hand exposure and mentorship, the HSCC is an early entry point to the exciting hands-on, tech-forward opportunities that are the reality of today’s commercial construction industry.
Careers in Construction (CIC):
Committed to cultivating the next generation of construction leaders, the CIC connects students and employers through paid internships that explore aptitudes over
a wide range of construction roles both in the field and the office. With a nationally recognized curriculum, participants can earn a certificate of completion in up to eleven different modules and gain access to apprenticeship programs that routinely lead to next-level opportunities.
Colorado’s construction industry finds itself at the precipice of potential and perhaps no industry in all of our economy is more ready, more willing, more eager to embrace the next generation of professionals. Colorado Construction & Design is pleased to shine a light on a few on the many pathways to a career in construction that awaits those with interest, aptitude, and ambition.
  Cook is the Director of Operations for the Colorado Chapter of the Associated General Contractors and Executive Director of the Construction Education Foundation
(CEF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to developing the construction workforce industry in Colorado.
“For generations, there has been a stigma against careers in construction as low-skill, blue-collar work, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” he continues.
“Currently in Colorado, there are about 180,000 construction professionals,” shares Cook.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2027, we will need 220,000. Add in the generation of leadership that will soon retire and we can anticipate needing another 70,000 construction workers in Colorado in the next ten years. That’s a big gap and we’re here to help fill it.”
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