View Full Version : So my kid wants to be in the construction industry

05-29-2014, 03:07 AM
I'm not sure how I feel about this. I grew up in the construction industry, it's a tough one to be in. You are completely reliant on the economy, completely. We moved a LOT, had to follow the work.

BUT, he has never shown any interest in anything except for basketball and playing video games. There is a school here that he can attend once he's a junior equivalent (he's in 6th grade now) that has a "construction technology" high school course. It's a school that you attend part time and they have TONS of skills type trade courses, it's really fabulous. I showed him the video that showed all the different courses they have and he lit up on that one and said "YEA I want to do THAT!" lol This is my super mellow doesn't get excited about anything kid. They build a model home and full size shed the first year, the second year they actually build a real residential home!

I told him, maybe he could own his own demolition company (he REALLY loves demo) and he got super excited.

I honestly don't expect him to go to college, I don't feel it's his path. Just like it wasn't mine. So I'm not schooling him assuming he'll go to college, however, I do want to educate him towards his interest.

I know he'll be good at it, he can see shapes and slopes and such in everyday things. Like when he plays basketball he tells me he imagines like a line that goes from his hand to the basket, in an arc, then he shoots to follow that arc. And he's a hell of a shot, kid can shoot 3 pointers like mad. He also has my husbands ability to look at something and tell you pretty much exactly how long it is in inches..it's nuts! So this seems to be his talent!

I'm putting him in a woodshop class next year at the public school, so I think this will really give him some great skills. I bought him a drill and drill set for Christmas this year, he loves it, just doesn't know what to build with it lol. My husband is going to have him help build a shed this summer.

So I'm wondering, I would love to teach him more applied math. Are there any resources that anyone knows up for that?

05-29-2014, 08:23 AM
One idea might be for you to call the school and ask to speak to someone about the requirements they have for students who want to do construction technology. Then you'd have something to go on for an education pathway. My DS, who has decided to go to community college to study criminal justice then onto university to do law. It's not going to be as streamiined as that, of course, but that's the plan LOL. So I have him finding out what he would need to do the criminal justice course, and he's already saying, "I don't really want to do this but I ought to".

It sounds as if he has a very good idea of what he wants to do and that is more than most kids do! He might change his mind but in the meantime, it sounds like your boy has an interesting pathway in mind.


05-29-2014, 08:43 AM
It sounds as if he has a very good idea of what he wants to do and that is more than most kids do! He might change his mind but in the meantime, it sounds like your boy has an interesting pathway in mind.

This is so true. There are a lot of kids graduating from college with no direction and little in the way of job marketability. Maybe you could use something like this for math. Blueprint Reading: Construction Drawings for the Building Trade: Sam Kubba: 9780071549868: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071549862/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_sims_1)

05-29-2014, 09:26 AM
No math advice from me, but as someone with a lifelong passion for alternative housing/energy (that started at about his age), I would at least expose him to aspects of the industry outside of traditional construction in order to maybe find a niche that might better weather the ups and downs of the economy.

Specifically, I would expose him to solar and wind energy systems, earth berm construction, cob houses, straw bale construction, rammed earth, and tiny houses just to name a few.

I wish I could talk to him, I really could go on and on..... :)

05-29-2014, 01:22 PM
The company I work for does testing of architectural products and so we work closely with the construction industry. We destroy things on a daily basis. :)

There are many fields within the construction industry (other than just construction worker) and some require a high level of math. I wholeheartedly agree with aspiecat that he should look up prerequisites for the different programs. I did a quick search and if it was me I would make sure he has 2 years of HS algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, physics, computer science, technical writing, architectural drawing/blueprints, and maybe even microeconomics. Knowing a computer program like CAD would be beneficial as well.

05-29-2014, 04:37 PM
OK. I looked some more, because I'm interested in this subject as well but for different reasons. I have always wondered why math is taught in such an abstract way. Math came fairly easily to me, but I wondered why I had to wait until I took chemistry and physics before I became informed as to why I had learned algebra. Why not teach them together? I have been looking for books to help me teach math with real-life application but have had little luck because of DD's age. Maybe I'll have more luck when she is high school. I found this search to be promising.

These books might make your son more interested in math. I bookmarked one for a later date.
Mathematics for Carpentry and the Construction Trades (2nd Edition): Alfred P. Webster, Kathryn E. Bright: 9780131633056: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Carpentry-Construction-Trades-Edition/dp/0131633058/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1401393925&sr=8-8&keywords=math+for+building+trades)

05-29-2014, 05:38 PM
Fortunatly for this program for homeschoolers the only pre-req is that he be 15 and/or a junior equivelant in high school...which in WA as hs'ers we decide what they need to graduate, there are no requirements. The program goes though stuff like CAD and such, here it is...

Construction Technology (http://www.ccskillscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=128)

The school is honestly fabulous. My daughter about pee'd her pants when she saw the restaurant management one lol. She's convinced she is going to own a bakery.

We've talked about the tiny house movement (especially here in the pacnw), he's super excited about that. He said he is going to build a house on our land when we get it lol...yea right kid, you gotta buy that parcel from us ;) hahaha But there is a guy here building and selling tiny houses for like 12k. He likes that idea because they can built quickly and sold quickly. Making new projects all the time.

THanks for the book rec's, I'm going to look into those.

05-29-2014, 06:22 PM
No direct answer on the math thing, but I think it's great that he knows what he wants, and it's great that you know enough about his chosen path that you can warn him about the pitfalls. My dad never did college (GED in the military) or took special courses, and he went into a field that's somewhat dependent upon the construction field (water well drilling) so I understand where you're coming from. My dad's way of dealing with the flux of the economy was to have a second aspect to the business that wasn't dependent upon the economy (rental equipment & industrial hoses). In fact, the hoses have ended up being what kept the business afloat through many trying times...he formed the business in 1956 and it's still going today. He's 83yo and repairs $800 hoses for $50, and he does the repairs in about 10min. It's about having the tools, the parts, and the knowledge. My brother took over the well drilling stuff about 15yr ago and does fine $-wise. It may be manual labor, but my father now owns multiple homes, 12 cars/trucks/vans (some are collector things), had a twin-engine plane & his pilot's license until he was unable to fly any longer, and is part-owner of a bank. He's done well for himself without having a degree. I have no doubt that your son could do quite well if he has that same kind of passion.

As for a secondary/supplementary sideline, if he enjoys CAD later on, he may well find himself in a explosion of CAD-driven industries in a few years. The 3-D printing industry is just taking off...it's a hot commodity. In order to print stuff out, you need people who can put the info in. They need people who understand CAD, math, construction principles, and so on. I took CAD a couple of years ago and convinced DH to give it a go. He really loves it and hopes to move into that industry. He, too, can foresee a big need for CAD talent in the near future. My instructor has a 78yo brother who does CAD work from home, making $80K/yr+. So it could be a profitable sideline. :)

You could always try email the manufacturing technology department head at the local community college to see what they recommend for math work at your son's age and given his interests. They're always eager to help engage younger learners.

05-29-2014, 06:28 PM
How about just having him build some stuff? There are umpteen YouTube videos about how to build anything your heart desires. Whatever his eventual path, being able to figure out how to back-engineer from desired project to construction method is invaluable. If he wants to, he can draw pictures (blueprints) of the pieces he'll need and how they'll go together.

05-29-2014, 08:27 PM
I worked for a large commercial/industrial electrical contractor in PA and we were part of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). It was a merit shop organization which offered apprenticeship programs in all trades. The programs are excellent, and offer schooling in the evenings while working in the field during the day. Obviously, depending on your political agenda, the union contractors have a strong apprenticeship program as well. We had an employee who started with the firm right out of high school as an apprentice and then worked his way up the ladder: project manager, estimator. Another apprentice (a female) started as an apprentice and became our service manager and then purchasing manager. Apprentice programs can be a viable option for some young people.

05-29-2014, 08:58 PM
My husband is a carpenter. If you can get your foot in the door in the right area it can be really lucrative. His clients are all in the wealthiest part of Maryland and Northern Virginia. He has crew working on the Kennedy Mansion. (oops. Dropped a name;)). Your boy could make a good living.

In addition to math I would recommend looking into basic business classes.

05-30-2014, 09:32 AM
My husband is a carpenter. If you can get your foot in the door in the right area it can be really lucrative. His clients are all in the wealthiest part of Maryland and Northern Virginia. He has crew working on the Kennedy Mansion. (oops. Dropped a name;)). Your boy could make a good living.

My brother in law makes a LOT of money as a house painter. He pays more in taxes than my family lives on. He lives around rich people as well. Go to where the money is! :)

05-30-2014, 09:00 PM
One can also "make it" as a craftsman instead of a contractor or carpenter, if you find a niche like wood or iron work. My family uses a small mill to cut up the wood we take in from tree work and sell it to craftsman who make crazy expensive tables and such.