Construct Tomorrow concluded its 2022-23 season with its traditional two-day event at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) for high school students in Minnesota’s Bold North. That event also includes a community night where adults seeking a career in the trades can have the same experience as the high schoolers.
Four years ago Nick Tracy, then a senior at Proctor high School, was one of those students attending Construct Tomorrow. Now he’s a carpenter’s apprentice with Local 361 working just down the highway from the DECC on the Twin Ports Interchange highway project where I-35 and U.S. 53 merge, often referred to as the “can of worms.”
“At Construct Tomorrow they were really straightforward. Here’s what it is and here’s what you make,” explained Tracy. “Out of all the school field trips, this is the one I enjoyed more than the college visits where I got the feeling they feed you full of crap.”
One of the biggest challenges the program faced this past year was just dealing with personnel. New faces were found in old places whether it was with the trades or in the schools. “A lot of people retired after COVID or switched jobs,” Kim Schrupp, Co-Chair of Construct Tomorrow, said. “It led to spending time building key relationships again.”
Construct Tomorrow is planning to do eight events again next school year with some of the same locations (Eveleth and Morehead) and a few new ones. One of them will be River Center in downtown St. Paul, a generous donation from Ramsey County.
One critical issue remains – funding. Funding through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) ended earlier this year in 2023. “We are looking for new grant money, sponsorships, donations from contractors and suppliers,” said Schrupp. A July 25 fundraiser is planned at Top Golf in Brooklyn Center. The cost is $1200 a bay which also includes lunch. Register online at Construction Careers Foundation.