CM Perspective: There’s No High School Class on Truss Manufacturing


CM Perspective: There’s No High School Class on Truss Manufacturing

If you were at BCMC last year in Omaha, you might have seen a bunch of young people walking the show floor wearing neon green shirts. They were part of an effort by SBCA’s Emerging Leaders and a group of interested component manufacturers (CMs) and suppliers to expose students involved in local trades programs to all the types of careers our industry offers. It was a really great event and the positive feedback we got from the students encouraged us to organize a similar event at BCMC this year in Milwaukee.

As president of the Wisconsin Truss Manufacturers Association (WTMA), I’ve been working with BCMC Committee members and Emerging Leaders on this year’s effort, and I’m excited about our new approach. We are encouraging CMs who are within driving distance of Milwaukee to participate, and asking them to personally invest in the activity. Specifically, we would like CMs to reach out to their local schools, tell instructors about the event and invite them to bring up to five of their students to BCMC.

Our industry is not unique in its struggle to find employees. That means we have to differentiate ourselves. If we sit back and wait for them to come to us, finding good workers will always be a challenge. I don’t know about you, but I look at our workforce and we could really use some more young people. I have to believe our company is not alone. That’s why this event can be a game changer.

As I look at my community, I think reaching the students at the tech colleges is almost too late. That’s why I want to start at my high schools and invite those kids to this event. One of the reasons why we are putting this on the shoulders of the CM is that they have the most to benefit from the relationships that will be built, both with the instructors and the kids. If I can use this event to more effectively reach the high school kids in our area, the better chance I have to find someone who might be interested in pursuing a career at our company.

Most young people don’t have our industry on their radar. They don’t know what a truss is and don’t know the level of technology we use to design and manufacture them. The more we expose this generation to what we do the better chance we have of growing our pool of potential future employees. I encourage you to learn more about Student Day at BCMC and how you can participate. 

About the Author: Steve Szymanski is the president of Truss Systems, Inc. in Little Chute, Wisconsin. He is also president of the Wisconsin chapter of SBCA.