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Internships in commercial construction are vital to the future of the construction industry. The United States is currently experiencing a shortage of construction workers, and this lack of experienced professionals in the industry is expected to get worse. Construction companies must provide well-rounded, thoughtful internships to inspire and confirm young students’ interest in construction, provide them with real-world experience and training, and provide useful help to construction teams in the field.

The Need for Young Talent in the Construction Industry

Forrester Constructions 2022 Summer Interns at the STSA Coptic Church Project in VA

There are not enough construction professionals to go around. The lack of access to adequate training programs during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the 

industry to lose talent.  In addition, the pandemic-related safety concerns that led to the suspension or alteration of training programs have also made it harder to attract and retain workers. Construction companies will need to increase the pace of hiring exponentially in 2022 if they are expected to keep up with construction demands.

The construction industry is also expected to face increased challenges with labor shortages. It is, therefore, important that companies take immediate action to address this issue. One of the most effective ways to improve the industry’s talent pool is by reaching out to a younger demographic, implementing construction internships, and engaging with high schools and universities to attract students to the construction industry and properly prepare the next generation of great builders.

Construction Talent

Forrester Construction Team Members at the Annual Women in Construction Conference

Many construction companies, like Forrester Construction, are thinking toward the future to address the need for talent in the construction industry. Partnering with educational institutions is one of the ways that commercial construction companies can adopt a long-term, educational approach to solving the talent issue. This can help students decide what kind of construction company they want to work for, develop skills in real-world construction settings, and gain experience that will jump-start their careers when they enter the construction industry after graduation. 

When encouraging students to consider construction as a career, focusing on increasing the number of women in construction is vital. In 2019, only 9 out of every 100 people who worked in construction were women. That means there is a huge potential for many more talented, educated construction professionals if more women seek construction as a valid, attainable career path.

In addition to the many benefits that students gain from developing a relationship with construction companies before graduation, construction companies benefit from university engagement by developing a strong and diverse talent pool, gaining strong relationships with clients who may have projects at colleges or high schools, and developing early connections with future industry contacts.

Though not all companies within the commercial construction industry have internships. Another avenue to support the need for talent in the construction industry is by developing apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships that provide opportunities for learning, career development, and professional growth help attract and retain talent in the construction company and increase the overall number of workers in the industry by providing young talent for many subcontractors. This skills-based approach is an effective way to build talent and worker capabilities through experience and training. 

What is a Construction Internship?

Construction internships are the best way for students to get a taste of the industry, receive training, and develop real-world experience without making long-term professional commitments. Construction internships generally take place in the summer and allow students to work for companies in the construction industry to help identify their ideal company’s size, type of work, culture, and values before they graduate and decide on their career direction.

Although an internship doesn’t provide a formal industry qualification, it can still set students apart from other candidates, prepare them for an entry-level position, and allow individuals to explore and learn about various construction paths. An added benefit to getting a construction internship is that they can usually help secure a higher starting wage since you are coming to a company with real-world experience.


How to Get a Construction Internship

Forrester Construction Team Members Attending WVU Construction Industry Career Fair in 2022

Most commercial construction companies, like Forrester Construction, start hiring their summer interns in the fall. The company website generally has a location where students can apply online or contact the organization for more information about the internship program. Construction companies attend many college and university career fairs, especially at schools that have larger or more established construction or engineering programs. Some of the construction industry career fairs Forrester generally visits include the University of Maryland Chi Epsilon Civil and Construction Management Career Fair, the Architectural Engineering Career Fair at Penn State, Virginia Tech’s Myers Lawson School of Construction Career Fair, and more! Visit our website to see a full list of career fairs we are visiting this fall!

Typical Construction Internship Programs

Forrester Construction 2022 Summer Interns giving End of Summer Site Tour Presentation at South County Police and Animal Shelter Project

Many construction internships for general contractors take place in the summer while college students are on summer break, though some construction internships can take place in the summer or occur part-time during the school year. Many general contractors that provide internships allow  to be on a real construction project for the summer, working with the team, and performing real tasks that are integral to the construction project’s progress and completion. Construction internships will train students on the various tasks they will complete over the summer, as well as provide networking opportunities, educational resources, and a well-rounded learning experience. Construction internships also allow college students to see what it’s like to work in construction and allow them to grow professionally. Construction internships should aim to be innovative, provide hands-on training, and engage students in the decision-making process.

Other Ways to Engage with Students

Sparking students’ interest in construction at a young age can inspire and encourage individuals, who may have never considered construction as a profession, to pursue it as a career. 

Engaging with High School Students

Forrester Construction Hosts Collegiate Directions Students for Career Panel and Q&A

If you are a general contractor, architect, or subcontractor working in the private or public education market, like Forrester Construction, there are many ways that you can impact students and help encourage more interest in the construction industry. Attending career days at high schools you have built or are building near and giving tours or informational sessions at schools you are building, can provide a new perspective on all the benefits of working in the construction industry.

Engaging with College Students 

Forrester Construction gives virtual site tour to VT’s Building Women in Construction Group during COVID-19

Engaging with colleges and universities outside of career fairs by inviting groups for construction site tours, hosting or attending learning sessions or panels, or encouraging your team members to become peer mentors are all ways that your construction company can support the next generation of commercial construction workers. During the pandemic, Forrester found ways to connect with college students by offering virtual site tours and Q&As with engineering classes.


The construction industry is expected to play a vital role in the country’s economic recovery. It is, therefore, important that the industry’s various stakeholders come together to address the talent issues that are hindering its growth. To succeed, the construction industry must adopt multiple strategies and approaches to help it create better jobs and improve efficiency, including building great internship programs to encourage and prepare current students, and our future in the construction industry.


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