Answering the Call: RPS, Construction Crews Team Up

By Matt Rodewald

Published 04/03 2014 10:06AM

Updated 04/03 2014 10:33AM

ROCKFORD (WTVO) -- To have a successful career in the construction field, Devon Starks has the talent, but a little luck couldn't hurt.

For that, the 19-year old got a phone call that opened his eyes.

"Hey come down here and check it out," Starks said of the phone he received from an advisor. "It's a job shadowing and so I'm here today and I got some good tips and good cards.

"It's been a good day."

Starks spend more than 20 minutes talking with David Anspaugh about a job opportunity with Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association (NIBCA). The conversation went well.

"Devon is a wonderful individual that is very motivated," said Anspaugh, the Assistant Director of NIBCA. "I think he's actually someone who's actually going to go beyond the shadowing program and actually become an employee at one of our companies."

It's the kind of success that District 205 is hoping to get out of it's first job shadowing event in search of 15 candidates at $15 an hour.

"We really want to draw the best and brightest into this field," said Dr. Ehren Jarrett, RPS 205 Superintendent. "It's a very short term experience, but we think it'll lead to much higher paying jobs than that. A good trade job could pay two or three times that."

"I think it's a great opportunity for future graduates of the schools around here with the requirements being that they must be 18 and have a GED or high school diploma," said Gina Toms, an Administrative Assistant with Williams Charles Construction.

"It's a great stepping stone to starting a career."

With three different fieldhouse projects in the works across Rockford, there's plenty of work to do in the district alone.

"With the work being done in the facilities and in our facilities, we think this is going to lead to a really strong local workforce and some great high quality school projects are going to really benefit the whole educational process," Jarrett said.

As for Starks, as luck would have it, he's still learning the craft.

"It's really excited. It's exciting to meet new people," Starks said. "There's jobs and construction stuff I've never seen before."

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