WINTERVILLE, N.C. — Pitt Community College teamed up with Barnhill Contracting Company this month on an event that gave area high school students an up-close look at construction careers.

   Held on the PCC campus July 16, Barnhill’s Eastern North Carolina Field Day gave students from seven area high schools a chance to learn about the process involved with building Pitt’s future Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Center for Student Advancement—from the initial project design stage to actual construction of the facility. Organizers hope the exposure will encourage students to consider careers in construction trades.

   “Though it’s common to see a building under construction, the Barnhill event offered students an opportunity to see a building design on paper before witnessing work being done on that particular structure,” said PCC Apprenticeship Coordinator Latrice Perry. “They were able to walk through the Smith Center construction site and see workers from various trades on the job—many from businesses within our community.”

   In addition to the building construction program, students toured several PCC Construction & Industrial Technology facilities to learn more about automotive systems, welding and industrial systems. Perry said she noticed the students’ level of enthusiasm increase throughout the day as a result of their interactions with Barnhill professionals and PCC instructors.

   “The students walked in with no clue of their future plans,” Perry said. “But by the end of their tour, they were loaded with questions and excitement about the many opportunities available to them in construction-related fields.”

   With twice as many people exiting technical careers than there are starting them, the nation’s construction industry is experiencing a ‘graying tsunami.’ Essentially, a wave of quality craftsmen are retiring without trained workers ready to replace them.