High School Students Learn about Construction Industry Jobs from Recent Grad

April 9, 2019 – Denver, CO –Mark Stratford, a recent college graduate and current Rotation Program participant at Encore Electric, visits local high schools to educate and encourage current students to consider career options in the trades, specifically in electrical construction. Stratford worked with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) on engaging with several Denver area high schools in February and March.

The AGC is a construction industry association that represents more than 26,000 firms. Workforce development is one of many ways the association supports the construction industry and collaborates with industry partners to “attract, retain and train the future construction industry workforce.”[1]

Mark Stratford Encore ElectricStratford has always had a passion for giving back to the community, a value shared by Encore Electric. When David Scott, director of human resources and Scott Nelson, operations manager mentioned an opportunity to engage with the local student community, Stratford quickly accepted. “I don’t see a better way to do this than to talk to high school students about potential career paths and opportunities,” Stratford said. “I think it is great how much Encore invests in the community and how much they give back and these high school visits aren’t any different.”

Stratford worked with AGC and their workforce development industry partners to connect with students at Arapahoe High School. One of his first engagements was an off-site visit at a high-tech construction project with General Contractor Hensel Phelps. Students experienced a day in the life of a field engineer, doing layouts, surveying a site, and attending a VDC (Virtual Design & Construction) virtual and augmented reality tour, as well as a site tour where they were able to see thermal and anechoic chambers.

Stratford also visited Arapahoe High School directly. He focused on giving students a look into the life of an electrician and the various daily challenges they might face. Stratford also went into the many pathways to a career in construction. His message emphasized the idea that college isn’t the only viable option for pursuing a lifelong career. Construction is a thriving industry where you can make both a living and build a fulfilling career. With a catalog of more than 100 different courses, Encore University offers employees a unique opportunity to become the best-trained craftspeople and professionals in the country. This education is free to employees and ensures that Encore Electric employs the safest and most skilled electricians in the industry. This hands-on and engaging look at a career in the trades gives students helpful insight into the many options they have after high school.

This engagement culminated with Stratford being asked to cover a career panel presentation at Alameda High School in Denver. He was one of three professionals on the panel. He discussed his career trajectory, his mechanical engineering degree, and most importantly how he got his foot in the door as an intern with Encore Electric’s Technology Solutions business unit. He drove home the importance of internships and job shadowing opportunities that give real experience in a field, along with the value of less traditional paths that also offer rewarding life-long careers.

“My love for working with my hands stems from constructing Legos as a child. Throughout school I gained a passion for math and science and this naturally let to engineering,” Stratford said. “Through this love and passion I decided on mechanical engineering. It was one of the broadest field within engineering and I liked that I could do so many things with a mechanical engineering degree.”

[1] https://www.agc.org/industry-priorities/workforce-development