Free Nashville Summer Camp Aims to Add More Students to the Building Industry | Nashville Public Radio

Free Nashville Summer Camp Aims to Add More Students to the Building Industry

Jul 18, 2016

As construction booms in Nashville, there’s a looming concern about a worker shortage. The industry has been working with high schoolers to get them excited about the prospect of a career on the job site. A group of students has just returned home from a week-long camp at MTSU.

A lot of the camp activities are hands-on, though many students say they’ve never used power tools.

They’re building wooden trusses and testing their strength.

Students come to this camp for free. They sleep in dorms, and are introduced to all parts of the building process. Many, like Reagan Cannom from Murfreesboro, have a preference — something indoors.

“I’m interested more towards the architecture, but more towards the engineering. Construction is kind of interesting to me, but it’s my thing. I can’t deal with the heat and the conditions of it. I’m kind of a weeny with that kind of stuff,” Cannom said.

That seemed to be a theme at the camp – most students are aspiring engineers and architects.

Tom Gormley, who started this camp four years ago, acknowledged that many of these students don’t always see construction as an attractive career path.

“Somehow the construction industry must show that this isn’t a muddy, dirty job that nobody wants to do — that this is a huge opportunity to own companies, construction companies, be project managers, estimators,” Gormley said.

Gormley has tried to get students excited about the industry by bringing them on big construction sites, showing the management side of the field.

If the boom continues, there should be plenty of work to do. Nashville is encountering a documented construction worker shortage, which includes a lack of project managers and superintendents.