The program has received two annual $1 million allocations from the Indiana General Assembly, allowing it to reach more than 20,000 students in 106 school districts through career fairs, lunchtime presentations, meetings with parents and students, and discussions with career and technical education students in its first year, the Lebanon Reporter quoted Roundtable board president Chris Price as saying.
The newspaper describes the program with a story describing how construction industry project manager Austin Hart wishes he had forgone college and gone straight to work.
The 28-year-old project manager had known since he was young that he wanted to be like his grandfather, an Ohio iron worker and Hart’s childhood hero. As he got older, Hart worked in construction, with concrete, before going to Ball State University for a construction management degree.
After graduating, with the economy still in a recession, Hart sent out about 100 job applications. A friend from college told him about Merritt Contracting. Hart started out in the field laying pipe and running crews before he took an office position as a project manager.
Though he’s doing what he always wanted to do, Hart wishes now that he had gone straight into his career rather than get a degree.
The program’s mission is to teach students about construction work and the alternative pathways they have after graduation.
“We used to and to some degree still talk about success for a child as going to college,” Merritt Contracting owner Tom Merritt said. “We would like to redefine success. It could be going to college, or a union apprenticeship program, or it could just be working for a company for a year or two and sorting things out.” (Merritt is also a LCSC board member.)