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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Galvanizing efforts to prepare more builders and designers in MN

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Monday, March 11, 2024   

Representatives from the building and design trades will gather this weekend to showcase their professions to Minnesota youth.

Organizers want to establish a pipeline of future industry leaders, including those from underserved communities.

Minnesota's job vacancy rate for construction is near 4%.

It's not as high as other sectors, but officials say they're still trying to overcome longstanding challenges in getting more young people to enter the field.

Brian Kelley is the founder and director of the Young Builders and Designers Program - and said as teens consider their futures, it's worthwhile to let them know more about in-demand jobs with steady incomes, such as plumbers and electricians.

"These are trades that are always needed," said Kelley. "There's work there, there's work in those environments."

Kelley said while these jobs might not seem glamorous, making these connections helps youth realize skills they might not know they possess.

His program hosts a convention this Saturday afternoon at Kenny Elementary School in South Minneapolis.

Partner organizations will sponsor up to 100 low-income youth to attend, so they can learn about opportunities that might help them overcome economic disparities.

For disadvantaged youth who might not be able to attend college, Kelley said a career in the trades could make a huge difference when entering the workforce.

"If a young person is 18- or 19-years-old and they're migrating themselves into a job where they may make $25 or $30 an hour," said Kelley, "that's the difference between renting an apartment and owning a home."

Through its outreach, the Young Builders and Designers Program emphasizes career exploration and entrepreneurship.

Kelley said it's not just learning about construction tools, noting the workshops also teach kids about design work, architecture, and engineering.

He added that they incorporate cultural and historical information to help shape the minds of kids considering these professions.




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