Build Your Future Arizona Breaks Down the State of our Skilled Crafts Industries
September 27, 2021
Arizona’s demand for labor and skilled craft professionals is at an all-time high. It is projected that our state will need to fill over 261,000 construction-related jobs by December 2024! That is why Build Your Future Arizona’s (BYFAZ) is on a mission to create a sustainable and skilled craft workforce by creating awareness about high paying construction careers, training opportunities, and mapping career paths to employment in these high demand occupations.
Currently, Build Your Future Arizona’s (BYFAZ) Career Center page boasts over 450 construction-related jobs, and that number is expected to increase.
Arizonans are among the most indebted federal and private student loan borrowers in the U.S. with an average debt of $34,712. This is considerable given that the average annual wage in our state is $50,930. In contrast, carpenter, craft laborer, and mason jobs have an average Arizona earning of $39,000 to $56,000. That’s $18.75 to $27.00 per hour. One of the most empowering aspects about these careers is that you can “earn while you learn” which means people can transition from low-wage jobs, learn an entirely new career, and avoid accumulating debt.
From January to July of 2021, BYFAZ received over 500 interest forms from individuals that wanted to get started in a career in construction. From those forms, BYFAZ conducted nearly 200 career consultations and referred nearly 100 people to companies that we’re hiring.
One of those referred was Damian Garcia.
“Damian Garcia found Corbins Electric through the BYFAZ website. We found him to be a good fit for our Project Engineer role. Damian is excited for his career at Corbins Electric – as are we” JD Martin, Corbins Eclectic VP & Partner Business Solutions said.
For more than 50 years construction has been used to persuade young people to pursue a college degree, “Do you want to dig ditches the rest of your life?” is a phrase adults would use to steer students away from construction and towards college However, this phrase is based upon stigma. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Considering only 30% of Arizona college freshmen return for their sophomore year, and 2021 statistics place Arizona’s college graduation rate at 50.98%, it is clear that college does not always equate with success.
So, if college isn’t a guarantee, then how else may we get young people on a path to solid and sustainable careers?
That is where BYFAZ Arizona comes in. It is a workforce initiative and awareness campaign targeting 18- to 24-year-olds in the Greater Phoenix region. These are individuals who are graduating high school or who are currently working in low-wage positions with no clear career path. BYFAZ’s goal is to dispel myths about careers in construction, show the various career paths the construction industry has to offer, and help connect individuals with training opportunities.
BYF Arizona’s official mission statement:
Build Your Future Arizona’s mission is to create a sustainable and skilled craft workforce by creating awareness about high paying construction careers, training opportunities and mapping career paths to employment in these high demand occupations.
Since its launch in October 2019 pre-pandemic, BYFAZ has reached nearly 9,000 local students and is projected to reach an additional 5,000 students by the end of the year.
BYFAZ works hard to highlight the innovative spirit of skilled crafts workers and uses the latest industry technology to connect with students. For example, BYFAZ now uses virtual reality headsets to promote career exploration by allowing students to learn and complete various construction tasks like putting on and the need for construction PPE, ladder safety, how to use a reciprocating saw, scaffolding, and much more.
Since the second world war construction has been a driving force in Arizona’s economy. It continues to be a major part of its economic engine today. With Arizona’s projected need for over a quarter of a million construction careers by 2024, it will continue to be a pillar of our economy be well into the future. Construction touches every aspect of life in Arizona, from roads and airports, apartments to single-family homes, office buildings to hospitals. These are not just structures or highways, they are a legacy from a current-generation impacting Arizona’s future generations for decades to come. To learn more about in-demand construction careers, earnings, where to get training, current career opportunities, and more, visit arizona.byf.org.