While the American press often covers contributions made by our community’s working men and women, this Labor Day I’d like to praise the efforts of a particular group that sometimes goes unnoticed—the construction industry’s craft professionals.

Labor Day typically signals the end of summer, it’s also an opportunity to pause and celebrate the American worker. The evidence of their hard work is all around us. They build the offices where we work, the schools our children attend, along with hospitals, restaurants, stores and the petro-chemical plants that make our community so unique.

Going into my 15th year of doing these articles, I do have one concern, the future of our craft workforce. Not all kids are college bound and once the system realizes that, we will be more successful in replacing the thousands of good paying jobs that will be left vacant by the baby boomers. It’s been said that we are encouraging our young people to borrow money from a government that is broke, to make loans that they will never be able to repay, to get a degree in a field where there will likely be no jobs available. Sadly, I have to agree.

We are truly blessed to be living in the great State of Texas and especially the Golden Triangle. As we speak there are billions, that’s right billions of dollars earmarked to be spent on new construction and expansions from Lake Charles to Houston. Add in the Shale Oil boom and these are exciting times to be entering the construction workforce. Here at ABC we train future craft professionals, and we are in 23 of the 32 Region 5 ISD high school Vo-Tech programs, assisting in curriculum, tools and consumables. All high school graduates are offered a full scholarship to our craft training program upon graduation, all they have to do is request it from their counselor. Our young people need to be encouraged to enter our industry, it’s a great career with fantastic income potential, it just takes determination and the willingness to learn. The young people in those Vo-Tech and Ag programs are the future of the American construction worker, what better way to celebrate Labor Day by thanking them also for their willingness to join our workforce.

So next Monday while grilling and enjoying the holiday, take time to talk to that young person who is on the edge of making a decision about their future, tell them to give us a call or come by and visit. My door is always open and I’m passionate about helping the next generation continue to make Southeast Texas the greatest place in the country to live and raise a family.

Happy Labor Day to all from our ABC family to yours!