With it becoming more challenging to find qualified operators to hire, utility contractors in Arkansas have started tackling “workforce development” in their state. Their goal: spark more interest among students and young adults in pursuing utility construction careers.
As its first foray into workforce development, the NUCA Arkansas Chapter recently partnered with the state’s leading technical school on a “career expo” for local high-school students. Northwest Technical Institute hosted the event Oct. 26 at its Springdale, Ark., campus on a beautiful autumn day, featuring both indoor and outdoor exhibits by local organizations.
The NUCA Arkansas booth — featuring Riggs CAT excavation equipment — highlighted utility construction as a rewarding career option that doesn’t require a four-year degree. With nearly 1,000 students arriving from around NW Arkansas, they got to climb up in the equipment, take “selfies,” then hear a talk about construction career opportunities.
Among those participating from NUCA Arkansas were Heath Tyler and Les Riddle of Riggs CAT, Billy Padgett of Efficiency Production and Mike Frost of Nabholz Construction. “What a unique opportunity it was to speak with students and get them thinking about their futures and the well-paying and satisfying opportunities available to them in utility construction,” Tyler remarked.