When supply issues caused a roofing project for Nathaniel Morton Elementary School in Plymouth, Mass., to take place this fall, school officials took advantage of the situation to teach students about the construction trades.
As reported in WickedLocal.com, the elementary school held a "Nathaniel Morton Builds Day" last week to celebrate the trades, teach students about roofing and what exactly was happening over their heads. Parent volunteers in the construction fields visited to talk with students about their respective fields, from electricians to homebuilders and more. Students were given their own yellow hardhats to wear while rotating through various work stations.
Among those who spoke with students was Jason Wagner, project manager with Gale Associates, the architect on record for the roofing project. He said the project was meant to take place over the summer while school was out, but was extended to the fall due to delayed supply shipments.
"The construction industry just hasn't bounced back yet, it's still kind of residual from a year ago," he said.
The delay, however, turned into an opportunity to teach students about the importance of the construction industry. Wagner brought in roofing material samples like insulation, bricks and shingles, and explained how they were being used on the school's roof.
"They actually seem pretty interested ... they had some good questions," Wagner said. "They've seen the guys walking around with hard hats and they hear the hammering, but they don't know exactly what is going on, so I was there to spend a few minutes talking with them about that."
Introducing students to the roofing and construction industry has become a priority for industry groups like the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Last July, the NRCA brought roofing to SkillsUSA's National Leadership and Skills Conference, an annual event where students around the nation compete in contests based on trade, technical and skilled service occupations. In 2020, the Roofing Alliance — the NRCA's philanthropic organization — in conjunction with Clemson University in South Carolina, developed a college course dedicated to roofing.