Convincing young people to consider a career in the construction industry is what the web site www.TryTools.org is all about. The site is part of a program by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. (ABC) to recruit students and recent graduates to the field at a time when many school districts are cutting back or eliminating vocational construction programs.

"Attracting and training the construction workforce of the future is top priority at ABC and the Try Tools program is the core of this effort," said organization President W. Thomas Musser. "Try Tools teaches young people about the exciting and fulfilling career opportunities provided by the construction industry."

Try Tools web site is colorful and easily-navigated. Visitors can click on icons such as "project manager" or "front line supervisor" to learn about these specialized careers in the construction field. The site's main page, a "career path," shows how different jobs link together and a worker can eventually become the manager of his or her own company.

The site also includes sections for parents, teachers and career counselors. High school students can download sample college syllabi for construction management programs and elementary school-age pupils can download coloring books about the construction field. "We have such a great need in our industry," said Fred Day, director of ABC's School to Career program. "There are an unbelievable amount of opportunities these days for skilled workers."

With all the attention so-called "high-tech" careers have been receiving in recent years, many students and counselors have forgotten about the construction industry, Day said. They may have outdated perceptions about construction, thinking it's all about unskilled labor, when really, "the need for skilled workers today is greater than it ever was, due to technology," he said.

ABC will also be spreading the word about the program through pamphlets, bumper stickers, brochures, radio advertisements and through the group's appearances at trade shows. So far, ABC officials are happy with the web site, which Day said is getting up to 5,000 "hits" a day from interested individuals. "It's getting the word out," he said.

  • This month marks the launch of the web site for Tinners Tools, an Indiana-based company that markets tools and accessories for the sheet metal and hvac market. Many of the same products and features of the Tinners catalog will also be available on the web site.

    "We're going to have a complete listing," said company spokesman Lee Hopkins. Visitors will be able to make purchases online with a credit card through the site's secure browser. In addition, the site will feature web-only specials and items too new to be in the company's regular catalog. Special prices for first-time buyers, giveaways, news items and helpful hints will make the site more than just a place to shop. "There is going to be new stuff added all the time," Hopkins said. The site is at www.tinnerstools.com.

  • The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recently redesigned its web site, www.nrca.net. The site now has special sections aimed at NRCA member contractors and consumers. Visitors can read the latest industry news, track roofing-related legislation, register for upcoming NRCA programs and conventions, view the NRCA Buyer's Guide, browse the NRCA Virtual Store and even find out the weather forecast. Consumers can learn about buying a roof, selecting a contractor and even get a price quote from a local company.

    For NRCA members, the site also has special online polls, press releases, a discussion forum and the ability to renew their membership online. The site even has a search engine where visitors can get customized information on topics.

The LVD Group, which manufactures metalforming equipment under the brand names of Strippit and LVD Co., has launched a new web site. The site has information about LVD's complete product line, including lasers, turret punch presses, press brakes, shears and more. News items, case studies, technical articles and a list of upcoming trade shows is also included. Go to www.lvdgroup.com for more information.

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