by Christy Heitger-Ewing

There’s a phrase that sounds so simple but rings so true when it comes to a career: “Do what you love. Love what you do.” We spend a big chunk of our day (and our lives) at work. If you enjoy your job, time flies. If not, it crawls. It can be hard figuring out the right job for you, but workforce development, which aims to foster prosperity for individuals, communities, and businesses, is definitely helping.

The construction industry is currently facing a huge shortage in workers. Thankfully, many in the construction industry are doing their part to help improve this situation. The Hub & Spoke Institute is one resource to the community that offers a community workshop, innovation lab, and art studio for hands-on experiential earning with an emphasis on skilled workforce development. Partnering with HSE schools, they invite fifth-graders to visit Hub & Spoke for four hours a day, four days a week to work with a teacher-in-residence on a number of projects that incorporate hammering, nailing, and drill presses in addition to 3D modeling, 3D printing, circuitry, and stop motion.

“Our goal is to get the tools in students’ hands at this age to show them that tools aren’t scary and that these technologies are really accessible,” says Nick Snyder, Maker Playground manager at Hub & Spoke. “That way they are less likely to be wary of these professions down the road.”

The team at HER Home Design offers training and internship programs in order to not only educate the next generation of workers but also foster pride in one’s work.

“We always ask our team about their interests and then do all we can to help them pursue those interests through workshops and classes,” says Megan Olivero, studio director/interior designer.

The Home Artisans of Indiana is also committed to growing young people’s interest in the construction field. They offer scholarships to students looking to pursue a career in the industry. They also host career fairs that highlight possible jobs and opportunities students may want to consider.

Diana Daniely, outside builder sales at Ferguson Enterprises, has been a board member of Home Artisans of Indiana for the past 14 years. She believes that many students overlook work in the trades because parents and teachers have long equated a college education as being the only path to success; that’s simply untrue.

“The truth is you can make a great living selling appliances. You can make a great living pouring concrete. You can make a great living installing tile and flooring,” says Daniely. “These are all very fulfilling jobs.”

The crew at Flatmade Concrete knows this firsthand. They not only make good money, but they also have a good time while doing it. Ben Driskell, owner of Flatmade, says that his employees work hard and play hard.

“We work long hours, but it doesn’t feel like it if you’re having a good time,” he says. The team at ACo feels the same way.

“I feel so lucky to be part of such a great company,” says Amanda Wagoner, director of CAD. “I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun, too.”

Workforce development leads to job satisfaction, lower turnover, better morale, increased productivity, a skilled workforce, and in-demand workplace – all of which equate to long-term success. When you do what you love and love what you do, life is so much sweeter.