IT’S GRADUATION TIME for college and university students, and soon the area’s high school seniors will follow with their own march to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Many of these teenage candidates for graduation already have a good idea about what they want to do in life — what they want to have as a career. It might be safe to say, though, that as many or more seniors have absolutely no clue what they want to do as a grown-up. For this latter group, we have a suggestion: Construction. Consider a career in the challenging but well-paying, wide-ranging, and rewarding field of construction.

The local, state, and national economies are booming now, and the number of construction projects — under way now and planned — is higher than it’s been in quite some time. That means the demand for hardy souls to work on and complete these projects is high, too. That’s not just us saying that. Consider this blurb from the online site for U.S. News & World Report magazine:

“The construction industry has experienced a winding road of recovery. The good news for those considering a construction job is that the industry is starting to hit its stride. The [U.S.] Labor Department remains upbeat on this sector, predicting overall employment growth of about 11 percent, or roughly 758,400 new jobs by the year 2026. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, and construction managers will be needed to build new structures and update existing buildings.”

U.S. News has a “Best Jobs” feature in the Money section of its website, and included in that report is the magazine’s ranking of the top 10 best construction jobs. (You can visit it here. The list, with the median salary for each job, goes like this:

  1. Plumber, $51,450

  2. Construction manager, $89,300

  3. Electrician, $52,720

  4. Solar photovoltaic installer, $39,240

  5. Carpenter, $43,600

  6. Construction worker, $33,430

  7. Painter, $37,570

  8. (Window) Glazier, $41,920

  9. Sheet metal worker, $46,940

  10. Brickmason and blockmason, $49,250

Over at the website — visit it here — is another top-10 list. It’s the “10 Fastest Growing Careers in the Construction Industry.” That summary is a bit different than the U.S. News version and looks like this:

  1. Construction or project manager — with 11 percent job growth through 2026

  2. Construction equipment operators — 12 percent growth through 2026

  3. Plumbers — 16 percent growth through 2026

  4. Masons — 12 percent growth through 2026

  5. Elevator installers and repairers — 12 percent growth through 2026

  6. (Window) glaziers — 11 percent growth through 2026

  7. Solar voltaic installers — 105 percent growth through 2026

  8. Ironworkers — 13 percent growth through 2026

  9. Construction laborers — 13 percent growth through 2026

  10. Civil engineers — 11 percent growth through 2026

Combined, these two lists spell O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for any young adult who wants to pursue a career in construction. As the article at points out: “The construction industry has a wealth of jobs across a broad spectrum of disciplines. And many employers are looking to fill them.”

The overall message here is this: Get to the training and then get to the building — on construction projects as well on as a great career.

For quality training locally, Polk County’s two technical colleges, Ridge in Winter Haven and Traviss in Lakeland, offer construction programs ranging from Air Conditioning and Heating to Welding. At the university level, check out the four-year bachelor’s-level programs in construction and/or engineering at the University of Florida, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, Florida A&M University, Florida Institute of Technology, and Florida International University, just to name a few.

For people already holding construction-related certificates or degrees, or for those already trained or experienced in a construction discipline, there just might be an opportunity for employment at Tucker Paving, Inc. Find out by first clicking over to, completing the employment application you can download from there, and submitting it for review and consideration.