As young Gabe Spencer pictured here joins his mother for a construction jobsite ceremony, his hardhat isn’t regulation. But his clear fascination with the building process at age five might encourage us to think that the construction industry still has fans in the next generation. Hopefully, we can convince these kids that construction will continue as a good place to pursue a career when they grow up.

In the Construction Industry,Pictures Say It All
Photographer/Submitter: Marc Barnes
Submitted while Barnes was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; he now works for the new U.S. Army Community Hospital at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Gabe Spencer watches intently as his mom, Heather, wife of a deployed Army major, represents military families to sign a steel beam at topping-out ceremonies for the new Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, set to open in 2011. Gabe and his four siblings were all born in military hospitals.

This week’s issue, full of visual images of what industry members accomplish every day—through the searing heat and the scary heights you see in these the photos, and through the budget cuts and layoffs that you don’t. Employers might use this magazine to start and build from there.

Some have already taken up the challenge, with convincing and gratifying results. Engineers Without Borders, launched a few years ago on one college campus, has since gone “viral” as thousands of students and young professionals use classroom skill not just for the degree or license later, but to solve real-world problems now. Likewise, advocates in Arizona have convinced local Junior Achievement officials to showcase construction as a career choice, for the first time nationally, to elementary school kids who pick up financial literacy, entrepreneurship and job-hunting skills. In both cases, industry support has followed as smart employers link early to future doers, thinkers and problem-solvers.

There are other efforts—many smaller, some bigger—to develop future Gabes, and Gabriellas, into productive craft workers, technical experts, supervisors and CEOs. But as they weather the tough times, many firms may forget to do so. Don’t hide your success stories and don’t hesitate to tell your own story, in words and pictures, of why you work in construction and what it means to you.