As demand for skilled construction and trade workers climbs, local students who dream of working in these industries are getting a head start. Schools, businesses and organizations give students the tools they need to thrive in these careers through opportunities such as apprenticeships, scholarships and studying in school training academies such as The Villages High School’s Construction Management Academy. “I chose construction as a career because of the academy,” said Brock Esarey, a graduate of the VHS class of 2021, who works for The Villages Residential Construction and Home Warranty as an assistant superintendent. “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do before, but once I joined the construction academy I instantly knew construction was what I wanted to do.”
The community needs employees like Esarey — construction jobs make up 9.8% of Sumter County’s employment, with trades, transportation and utilities industries forming 18.2%, according to the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research of Florida.
Each year more than a dozen students participate in VHS’ Construction Management Academy. Students earn industry certifications and gain-on-the job experience building homes for Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter’s affordable housing program and working on other construction projects.