Liberty Middle School students learn the value in “new collar” construction jobs

MADISON, Ala. -  The Madison City Schools system believes in its initiative named "New Collar Jobs." Without workers to fill the trade jobs, there won't be anyone to build the new industry and businesses coming to the Tennessee Valley.

Eighth Grader Tyra Hammons and her friends are nailing a new experience during class. They're learning about construction work.

"In life you will have to do something, so you might need a job," Hammons said.

Eighty-five percent of students in Madison City Schools choose the traditional route of a four-year college or university. However, educators in Madison want to expose students to other career paths that are certainly needed in this area.

"That skills gap is in the construction industry," Laura Smith, a STEM Academy teacher at Liberty Middle School, said.  "We're trying to introduce this skill to them early on so they can really think about going into the industry."

On Tuesday, James Clemens and Bob Jones High Schools students taught Liberty Middle Schoolers a lesson in measuring, nailing and safety.

"You have to be safe," Hammons said. "You have to wear safety goggles and you need to be careful and cautious."

Not everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives in the eighth grade, but Liberty Middle School wants students to at least begin thinking about the future.

"Before they even get to high school, they can try out different career fields," Smith said.