Students thrive in construction, despite the COVID-19 impact on schools

By: Arlinda Smith Broady, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

While many of her classmates are looking for ways to social distance while still enjoying the summer break, Fiore Sturdivant is checking utility plans for major projects at C.W. Matthews, a Marietta-based, family-owned construction company.

A rising senior at Kennesaw Mountain High School, her proficiency in math and engineering made her a candidate for many career fields. But she took a construction class at school and became hooked.

“In a room of 25 boys, I was usually the only girl and that was a little intimidating,” she said. “I checked my schedule to make sure I was in the right class. I didn’t want to be rude and leave in the middle so I stayed and listened and liked everything I heard.”

For recent high school and college graduates, these are some of the worse times to be entering the job market. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than 3.2 million high school graduates in the country. The unemployment rate in Georgia is near 12%, a few points below the national average of 15%.

Despite those grim figures, the construction industry is hungry for young talent.