Help them make an informed decision.

Young people today have no shortage of options when choosing a direction for their lives. Assist them with a choice that leads to a bright and fulfilling future.

One thing we can all agree on is education being the cornerstone to any successful career. We could even assume that with more education comes a greater chance at career success. For the last several decades, however, there has been a perception that a 4-year college degree is the only type of education leading to career prosperity. It is time to challenge that thinking.

Recent evidence shows the importance of discussing all forms of post-secondary education; whether it be a 4-year degree, a technical school, an apprenticeship, or on the job training, as all provide a person the basis for a successful career.

In today’s complex world, parents, educators and counselors yield tremendous influence over a young person preparing to make a career decision for the first time. As someone young people look up to, we would like you to be aware of just how much the construction industry has grown in quality opportunities.

The construction industry offers high paying jobs and ranks high in job satisfaction. There are numerous career opportunities for students who want to enter the workforce immediately after high school and for those who want to attend a 4-year college or a 2-year technical school. A career in construction could turn out to be the best decision a young person will ever make.

The best way to make students aware of the opportunities available in the construction industry is to have industry representatives meet with them. We encourage you to set up job site tours or presentations for interested students and we are here to help! Contact us and we can help connect you with a local contractor.

Construction Week

To assist with bringing awareness to the great opportunities within Iowa’s construction industry, Governor Reynolds declared by proclamation the first week of October to be Construction Week. Visit the Construction Week website to learn more about how schools and organizations can partner with local companies to obtain more information about the construction industry. In addition, we have put together the free resources on this page to assist schools and other organizations in communicating the message.

Should I learn a trade or pursue a Bachelor's degree?

Let the facts help you decide. According to the averages, an individual pursuing apprentice training will have a $174,904 financial advantage over an individual pursuing a college degree five years after high school graduation. In addition, this individual’s starting annual wage will be $4,921 higher than that of a peer who completes a Bachelor’s Degree.

Construction Apprentice
Career Path
  • $37,500This number is an approximate average of the available data for the wages of apprentices in training from year one through year four. Average Annual Income Earned During 4-Year Apprentice Training
  • 4 YearsAverage Time to Complete Apprentice Training
  • $0.00Student Loan Debt
  • $53,048Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Employment and Wage Report — Iowa Workforce Development Average Starting Income for Craft Professional after Apprentice Training
Four-Year University
Career Path
  • $14,400National Center for Educational Statistics Average Annual Income Earned in Pursuit of Bachelor’s Degree
  • 4.97 YearsNational Bureau of Economic Research Average Time to Earn Bachelor’s Degree
  • $19,456The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by Average Student Loan Debt for Iowa College Graduates
  • $48,127National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Average Starting Income for Bachelor’s Degree Recipient with Full-Time Position

Need more facts?

  • Only 68.4% of Iowa students attempting to earn a Bachelor’s Degree will graduate within six
  • Since 1990, Iowa’s median household income has increased 87% while the cost of college at Iowa’s regent universities has increased 311%.The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by
  • During the 1990–1991 academic year, tuition and fees at Iowa’s regent universities represented 7% of the median income; by 2012–2013 that tuition represented more than 15% of the median income.The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by
  • For the 2012–2013 academic year, tuition and fees at Iowa’s Private Colleges and Universities represented 50.2% of the median household income.The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by
  • Iowa has the sixth highest average student loan debt in the nation.The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by
  • Iowa ranks third worst in the nation for percentage of students graduating with student loan debt at 71%.The Condition of Higher Education in Iowa — a report by
  • 41% of 2013 and 2014 college graduates are earning less than $25,000 annually.2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study — Accenture Strategy
  • 56% of recent college graduates and 33% of all college graduates are working full-time in a job that requires no college degree.Current Issues in Economics and Finance — Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • One out of four college graduates have a job that is related to their major.Current Issues in Economics and Finance — Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • 17% of college graduates have parents with loans out on their behalf.Wall Street Journal