North Carolina Builders Encourage Students to 'Be Proud, Be Pro'

Workforce Development
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North Carolina builders have accelerated efforts to encourage students to explore the many job opportunities available in the skilled trades. On Oct. 20, the North Carolina Home Builders Education and Charitable Foundation celebrated the launch of Be Pro Be Proud NC, an initiative to generate student, parent and educator interest in technical professions.

The event attracted high-profile speakers and attendees including, Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC-05), Commissioner Josh Dobson from the North Carolina Department of Labor (NCDOL) and Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt.

Through the support and oversight of the NCDOL, Be Pro Be Proud NC will utilize two custom-built exhibition trailers equipped with virtual reality technology to give middle and high school students hands-on experience with skilled professions in the construction, manufacturing, transportation and utility industries.

"Labor is the number one issue for our industry right now, and Be Pro Be Proud is one meaningful way for us to move the needle in the right direction," said Tim Minton, Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Home Builders Association.

Different work stations inside the trailers utilize virtual reality technology to allow students to experience what it's like to use an excavator, practice welding, drive a tractor trailer, and work in construction, among other activities. SPEVCO, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company that specializes in mobile exhibition trailers, constructed the vehicles.

North Carolina is the fourth state where the Be Pro Be Proud program operates. Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina are also involved in the program.

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