BY XAVIER NEIRA
Published: February 7, 2014, in The Journal Record
Our construction industry hires a lot of people right after they graduate from high school.
Many of our jobs, like lead carpenters, foremen and others, don’t require a college degree. Usually, high-school graduates will start in an apprentice program and can work their way up to be the leader of a crew within a few years.
Despite this on-the-job training, we still need workers who are educated. When employees first start, we need them to be good at basic math and reading.
Surprisingly, a lot of students coming out of high school are not proficient in math or as well-prepared as they should be.
That’s why having strong school standards is so important, like what we’re seeing with Common Core state standards.
With Oklahoma joining other states and setting high expectations for our graduates with the Common Core, those in hiring positions in our industry will have the confidence that potential employees just out of high school are well-prepared coming into the field.
I know there are some concerns about whether common core is going to take away local control of the school curriculum, but teachers can customize their own lessons to teach these standards. And before we become so critical of different ideas, I think we should fully understand the potential benefits of having a set of standards that students nationwide are expected to master.
Common Core is a good place to start – with states agreeing on standards, school districts can build upon them. A strong education system means more opportunities for students and stronger companies full of employees who are educated and ready for work after high school.
Xavier Neira is business development director for Manhattan Construction Co. in Oklahoma City.