Want our kids to have great jobs? Let’s teach them about concrete!

By Robert Saucedo

If you are a student looking for a job with longevity, you should look into the concrete industry.  If we citizens want to invest our tax dollars into vocational training for trades that have withstood the test of time, then we tax payers and parents should take a serious look at the concrete industry, in particular the precast concrete industry.

The use of concrete dates back to ancient Egypt and shows no signs of slowing down. Concrete is the second most consumed material in the world after water.  It’s used mostly in the construction industry. “The precast concrete market is expected to grow from $104.03 Billion in 2017 to $138.96 Billion by 2022, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 5.96%. The precast concrete market is expected to witness high growth as a result of the rising urbanization, large-scale investments in infrastructure & industrial sectors, and rising construction activities in emerging economies. (Researchandmarkets.com, DUBLIN, May 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/)

I have been in the concrete industry for my entire adult life.  It has been a family trade for over 40 years. We in the concrete industry have a passion for what we do, and we take pride in the fact that we are building America daily.

That being said, our industry, like many of the construction trades, is hurting for skilled labor. It reminds me of that old country music classic that George Jones used to sing, “who’s gonna fill their shoes.”

We have a whole generation of kids that are going into college, many of them coming out with crippling debt.  Training in the construction industry offers a different path. For example, according to Indeed.com, the average salary for a construction inspector in Texas is $51,693. This is the kind of work that an 18-year old with a little initiative and the right training and industry certifications could do at beginning his or her working career, right out of high school.

We are an industry that is waiting for that next young individual that we can invest in. I can’t help but feel bad for the 18-20 year olds that walk through our doors who can’t read a tape measure. It is great,on the one hand, to teach our young people to use computers and ipads and other tools and technology of the 21st century.  But, I believe we are failing our kids by not encouraging them to take trade classes like drafting, shop, and welding.

What can we as Wacoans and Texans do to encourage our youth to enter into these trades? I think that if we offer industry certifications such as ACI (American Concrete Institute)/PCI (Precast Concrete Institute) and then find local companies that would be willing to offer summer jobs for these trades, our youth will not automatically default to student loans and degree programs that will not pay off for many.

Robert Saucedo is a 3rd generation American (no-hyphens). He grew up watching his dad and uncles build roads and bridges from Waco to Dallas and watching his mom overcome countless obstacles with grit and compassion. He started working in the precast concrete industry 12 years ago.  The company that hired him helped him earn his associates degree in business management and multiple industry certifications that have helped him grow in his career.  The precast/prestressed industry and committing his life to Christ have been blessings in his life and he has a passion for sharing about both.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.

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