Connecting with Tomorrow’s Talent
As a student approaches high school graduation, they are faced with perhaps one of the most important decisions of their early life: What to do next.
For generations, it was believed that a four-year degree was the most surefire path to career success and stability. For the past 40 years enrollment in four-year climbed and climbed, but so did the amount of debt the average student was taking on to pay for that education. Today, the average college graduate carrier close to $30,000 in student loan debt. This debt, along with a job market that has become increasingly uncertain for “white collar” jobs has many looking for other ways to build a career and a life. Pursuing training and employment in the skilled trades is becoming a more appealing option.
In March, The Old Dominion Group worked with local partners at The Chesterfield County Technical Center and Associated Building Contractors of Virginia to participate in events where we met with students who are considering pursuing a career in the trades. It was an amazing opportunity for our team members to share their experiences and career paths to help the students visualize a future in the trades. Over the course of two days we received over 70 applications and conducted over a dozen one-on-one interviews with students, some of whom we hope to bring aboard for our summer intern program.
In collaboration with ABC-VA we visited four local high schools and met with small groups of students who were either interested in a trade or had already begun some training. Along with a brief presentation about ODG, we focused on career stories told by project and division managers, some of whom are barely 5 years into their careers. Our goal was to paint a picture of a stable, rewarding career that did not require a four-year degree.
The two most common motivations high school students had for enrolling or considering enrolling in a vocational school were the high potential for job placement and the opportunity to obtain real-life work experience. When asked to rank the benefits of a skilled trades career, the top three responses were earning potential, job security and benefits. ODG offers these things and more. We pride ourselves on being a workplace that emphasizes growth, learning, and rewarding hard work. As we told the students we met, at ODG your career can be anything you make it.