“Who wants to work in construction?,” asked Jason Kaufman with S & S Builders, LLC.
None of the students raised their hands.
“Who would like to be a welder?”
Hands started going up. More hands raised when Kaufman talked about mechanics, and working in the mines.
“Those are all jobs in construction,” he said. “We work at the mines all the time.”
Volunteers from the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce’s NEWCA Board of Directors talked to students from Campbell County High School CTE classes on Wednesday, about working in the skilled trades. The day was interactive, with students leading the discussion, and learning from those working in different skilled trades in Campbell County.
One student asked Knecht Home Center of Gillette's Liz Mussell: “How much exactly do you make?”
Liz did not give her annual salary, but instead spoke to the potential salaries you could make in different departments with Knecht. Several Knecht Outside Sales Representatives explained to students that they could make as much as they wanted, as their role is salaried plus commission within Knecht.
Knecht also talked to students about how the employees own their business and receive incentive bonuses over and above their 401(k), based on the profitability of the business from year to year. They stressed that looking at an hourly wage is not the only thing to consider when deciding which business to work for: benefits are also important.
Kaufman tried to impress on the students that working within a company like S & S will let you try multiple different skill sets, not just a narrow focus on one field. If you try one thing and find that you don’t like it, they have different opportunities to try until you find the right niche.
At least 3 of the students at Career Day have contacted S & S Builders inquiring about summer positions.
Luke Bennett with Accent Masonry brought lots of different photos of different projects to show the students.
“There are so many different things you can do in masonry, I thought it would be better to show them,” he told the group. “Plus, I don’t like to talk in front of people.”
Working with your hands is often the best way for people to learn. So Luke stayed after career day ended, and started a special project with students, where they covered 5-gallon buckets with concrete, and made tree stumps out of them.
The project was so successful, students have begun to bicker about who should be allowed to take which finished tree stump home.
“I think we're going to have to find some sort of drawing to give them away fairly,” said CTE teacher Pete Stocker.
Advice that was given to students by all three entities in different settings: