Clayco Exec on Adding Diversity in Construction: ‘You Have to Go Outside Your Comfort Zone’

By on February 21, 2019

From St. Louis Business Journal:  The construction industry is searching for its own fountain of youth.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a person working in the construction industry is 42, and nearly half of all workers are over the age of 45. Because of the aging workforce, contractors and unions are challenged with recruiting and retaining young people.

“It’s the lack of access to opportunities,” said Dan Lester, director of field diversity, inclusion and culture for Clayco. Young people, particularly those whose family members have not worked in construction, aren’t “aware of the careers and pathways within construction.”

Clayco’s Construction Career Development Initiative hosted a career fair Thursday for high schoolers in the Ferguson-Florissant School District. Its goal was to boost diversity within the industry and increase awareness for those not familiar with construction.

Lester spoke with the Business Journal about why the industry is challenged and what companies are doing about it. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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