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Universities are not counting millennials out of the construction industry

Millennials are coming into the industry eager about the opportunities construction careers present, according to www.constructiondive.com.

Undergraduate programs under the construction category, including a range of trade and management, grew by the second-largest percentage increase among all majors in enrollments at four-year institutions this spring, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Graduates of construction management programs like Clemson University, Texas A&M University and Northwestern University, immediate job placement is almost a guarantee.

According to Brad Benhart, adjunct professor in project management at Northwestern, construction employers are practically waiting at the door with the promise of a hefty starting salary.

"We are typically graduating about 110 to 120 students per year and we have 180 construction companies come to our career fair," Benhart says.

Mike Jackson, professor and chair of Clemson University's Department of Construction Science and Management, says students enrolled there have at least one job offer by the time they graduate.

The median salary for construction managers was $89,300 in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for all 2016 college graduates was about $20,000 less.

Another big draw to the industry is the variety of work.

"I sell them on the aspects that make it a constantly evolving job," Benhart says. "You might have a cubicle or a desk at your office, but every morning you get up and you're going to a jobsite and meeting with clients and working with subcontractors. Your workday is constantly changing and it's very challenging."

In 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the labor force and will only continue to grow.


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