Building A Future

Student to join a construction company after high school.


Gaby Ayres, Staff Writer

The construction industry has been growing since 2012 and is expected to continue growing at a steady rate. According to Ibisworld, the industry grew 1.5% in 2022 in comparison to 2021. 

For students entering into trades, like senior Gilberto Gutierrez, this is good news. Gutierrez has been involved with construction since a young age. 

“I work with my brother in law — he does roofing,” Gutierrez said. “I started when I was 15.” 

Construction jobs involve dedication, strength and often early mornings. 

“I probably start at 5 in the morning,” Gutierrez said. “I might have to pick up a trailer or pick up the crew and jump to the job site around 7. Work finishes around 5.” 

Many people see high school as a part of the path to post-secondary education, and with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems reporting that 65% of Kansas grads go straight to college after high school, it can most definitely feel that way.  

“High school doesn’t really teach you anything about trades, but geometry [is] pretty important,” Gutierrez said. “I didn’t realize that was important in construction.”

Gutierrez’s ultimate goal is to have his own construction company, but even after graduation, he has more decisions to make. 

“There are things I still need to learn,” he said. “I’m bouncing around if I want to be a roofer or electrician. If I want to be an electrician, I don’t know anything about it [yet].”

The infrastructure economy is only growing with Ridgeline Construction finding that the industry is expected to earn $1.8 billion in 2023, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 5% to 6% increase in roofing jobs. But more than monetary motivations, construction appeals as a fulfilling career. 

“I’m outside and not stuck indoors,” Gutierrez said. “I like seeing progression from finish to end.”