Originally published Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 06:34p.m.

Excitement, anticipation, thrill, all of these feelings and more when YCCA opened the doors to our Job Workforce Bootcamp on Monday, Jan. 7.

Flowing through the doors were 29 young adults, men and women between the ages of 18-24 who wanted to “lace it up” and complete three weeks of exciting industry training and then be offered a great job. Talk about being nervous; however, that feeling soon diminished and dwindled when we saw the smiles and enthusiasm and eagerness on the faces of these young adults.

Several of our local builders, suppliers and subcontractors are volunteering their time to talk and teach the boot camp participants various aspects of the construction industry. This exciting instruction will transition our youth into a workforce in the construction trades.

The construction industry provides a great pathway to a rewarding career, and our boot camp is going to expose these young men and women to various construction trades and job possibilities. Our column will update you on the progress and share with you the boot camp project.

Let’s give a great big welcome to our boot camp attendees and let me introduce you to our new generation of young adults who are going to love the industry: Bianca, Bryan. Bryce, Cameron, Chase, Dason, David, Devon, Gabriel, Jaimy, Jamal, Jeffrey, Jordan P., Jordan T., Joseph, Juan, Killian, Logan, Mateusz, Maya, Mike, Mitchell, Nicholas, Nick, Paulina, Valdes, Walter, Zane and Zebadiah.

The construction industry is a lucrative career. It is rewarding both personally and financially; it is exciting; it is anything but dull, and it is an industry that will never disappear. YCCA is excited to focus on changing public perception and raising awareness about careers in the skilled trades to open doors to more viable career options for young people graduating high school, and our boot camp is doing just that.

Through our boot camp, we are going to close a staffing gap through a combined effort of training and promoting construction as a viable career path. We are striving to build a diverse, job-ready workforce equipped with hands-on training and on-the-job experience. Four-year college degrees are not for everyone. In fact, a couple of our boot camp attendees attended college and determined it “was not for them,” returned to the area and have now jumped on board with the boot camp.

Just to fill you in on the industry that “built America,” an enormous demand exists in the construction workforce. Out of 20 workforce sectors in Yavapai County, construction is the fifth-largest industry with government No. 1, health care No. 2, retail No. 3 and food service No. 4. From the same 20 sector industries, construction is the third top growing industry in Yavapai County, with food service No. 1 and health care No. 2.

As we know, the industry lost tens of thousands of workers during the economic downturn, and many never returned. Workers retired, retrained for other careers or were immigrants who returned to their home countries. As of today we have failed to replenish our ranks with newcomers even as construction has boomed. Our boot camp is going to help replenish the ranks!

To the young people out there — construction is a viable industry sector. There are plenty of jobs waiting for you. Work hard and get out in the field and experience what the business is all about, and there are many local companies that would love to train you, teach you their level of experience and mentor you and put you in a very rewarding field.

Construction is a great industry. If you enjoy building things, and helping to shape the community in which we live, then this is the industry for you. Construction will likely become one of the highest-paying careers for individuals to enter.

The YCCA Job Readiness Bootcamp is going to change hearts and minds and dispel misperceptions about the construction industry. For three weeks we are going to effectively engage, inform and inspire the next generation. Our boot camp is the wave of a new platform style to educate and covey information about a great industry with terrific opportunities and good pay.