Future Careers: Academy of Craft Training

An industry’s future success is dependent on many factors, but one critical component is the ability to refresh a workforce, replacing retiring professionals with bright-minded individuals who can build fulfilling careers. The starting point for sustaining an industry is education, where the next generation can gain a strong foundation of knowledge and skills.

In Birmingham, the Academy of Craft Training is tackling this challenge head-on by teaching students the fundamentals of the construction industry. The school is also providing an opportunity for high school students to explore future career options, including inspection, surveying, welding, HVAC, and others in the construction industry.

Did you know that approximately 30% of high school graduates do not attend college and have neither academic nor job skills? The academy’s goal is to help those students gain the education and skills they need to be entry-level, skilled workers in the construction industry.

Matt Lackey, a project manager in our Surveying Department, first learned about the Academy of Craft Training through Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) of Alabama. The academy piqued Matt’s interest because it promotes career paths similar to Matt’s.

Matt joined Sain Associates as a rodman, primarily working on construction staking. Later, he was named crew chief, where he focused on mapping and topographic surveys, and eventually he moved into project management. Matt continues to grow the department by incorporating cutting-edge technology into Sain’s survey practice. Recently, he assisted in creating our drone mapping program. Although Matt didn’t know he was stepping into his career path 23 years ago, he is thankful that he found such a rewarding career.

This spring, Matt and Alicia Bailey visited the academy and presented on the basics of surveying and CE&I to a classroom of juniors and seniors. They shared the importance of an accurate field survey and information about the development of construction plans and the construction process. Matt also shared his career story and encouraged the students to explore the varying fields within the construction industry.

Through organizations like the Academy of Craft Training, we have a hand in empowering the next generation. We hope that by sharing our experience and insight, we can provide a glimpse of the exciting career paths in surveying, inspection, and engineering.