KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Associated General Contractors projects a shortage of two million workers in the construction trades.
It's one of the reasons more and more industries are looking at high school students to close that gap.
A new program called Kansas City Construction Career Academy is doing just that; giving Northland students a head start into their career before they graduate.
The pilot program started in Fall 2018 and is a partnership between North Kansas City Schools, Metropolitan Community College, and J.E. Dunn Construction.
Throughout the year, students learned transferable skill sets and did hands-on work, learning more about the construction, building maintenance and repair industries.
From installing windows to different types of lighting, students said it provided those extra skills needed, while also jump-starting their careers after they finish high school.
"You can, later on, have your own house and your outlet go out or something and if you know how to do this, you're saving like $200 to $300 dollars," Oak Park High School junior Jasmine Bailey said.
"This teaches you what you actually like. Like I wanted to do construction and building the houses at first, but now I'm more interested in electric work, like an electrician," North Kansas City high school junior Raul Quiroz said.
Once they finish the two year program, students will walk away with both their high school diploma and an associate's degree.
"It's showing the skills gap in Kansas City is a very real thing. These students will be picked up in very high-paying jobs right out of high school. Livable wage to start and they'll have little to no debt and so they will be able to take care of themselves immediately upon graduation," MCC Engineer Technology Instructor Mike Cline said.
Click here to learn more about the program.