Simulator may bring more construction jobs

Mason City, Ia.- If you’re looking for a job you may want to consider construction.

Construction employer Chris Smith sees it more as a feeling than just a job.

Just stepping into a piece of machinery and listening to the rumble of the engine and moving that dirt and then when you’re all done you see a completed road that’s going to last for 50 years, you can take a lot of accomplishment away from that,” said Smith.

A collaboration of the Iowa Workforce, Iowa Works and Hawkeye Community College have brought construction opportunities to the North Iowa area funded by the Walmart Foundation.

Although the partnership was created to attract women and minorities, todaycollege students and high school students tested out construction equipment without being on a construction site.

They were introduced to simulated construction equipment.

Smith says, “The simulator is a great way for us to demonstrate how exciting construction can be.”

While many other career sectors are decreasing the number of jobs they divvy out, the construction field is growing and continues to hire more people every year.

It is also projected to be one of the best paying jobs through the year 2020.

Nicole Nelson with Iowa Works says attracting people to the construction field has been a struggle, but she thinks the simulator will encourage recruitment.

“To get people attracted to those fields is just basically getting them here to try it out. There’s at least a usual set intimidation factor that you don’t know how to run the machine so here they can actually try it out and they may actually be good at running that machine.”

It is no coiscidence the program has made it’s way to Mason City and soon the rest of North Iowa.

There will soon be an even larger need for construction workers.

“We now have a new federal highway program that’s only going to enhance the need for more workers down the road too,” says Smith.

Either way, the Iowa Workforce will continue their recruitment efforts, one simulator at a time.

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