Virginia Tech construction students in high demand

Published: Oct. 4, 2017 at 6:54 PM EDT
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Construction companies are competing to hire Virginia Tech students.

The construction major is not likely the first degree that comes to mind when thinking about the university, but as the industry grows more companies look in Blacksburg for their first choice hire.

"To be able to get those multiple offers and your only problem is choosing that offer is just a great feeling," said Jade McNair, who is graduating in December and already has worked lined up when she gets her diploma.

"This past June was when I got my second full time offer with a company I've been interning with and I actually accepted that," McNair said.

She's not alone, all of her fellow students in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction are expected to have a job before they graduate. School leaders know it will happen this school year because it's happened in the past.

"The companies are essentially competing for them versus the students competing for jobs," said Brian Kleiner, the director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction.

The School of Construction doubled enrollment this fall and has plans to double again within the next five years. It's also diversifying the industry. More women and minorities are part of the program.

Currently there are about 20 percent female construction management students, compared to the national industrial average of six percent. Also about 14 percent of students are minorities, compared to three percent in the industry.

"There's more demand right now in the industry than we have students to supply," Kleiner said.

About 500 students visited a job fair on campus Wednesday where 117 construction companies all competed to hire a Hokie.

All students who were there on campus walked away with an average of 5 to 6 job offers.

Alumni like John Britt from HITT Contracting returned to campus looking for employees.

"They just seem to line up really well with our corporate culture. I don't know if I can actually identify it," said John Britt, the executive vice president of HITT Contracting.

Wednesday's career fair was so popular within the construction industry that the school had to turn away employers.

Another fair is already scheduled for next Spring.