By Brandi Makuski
One local construction company plans to help train the next generation of local skilled workers by launching a new Explorers Post.
Ellis Construction is currently taking applications for what will become the area’s third such program. The Explorers program was first devised by the Boy Scouts of America — but is open to boys and girls, ages 15-20, through its Learning for Life program.
Similar in nature to the Stevens Point Fire Department’s Explorer’s Program, as well as the Plover Police Department’s Explorer’s Post, the new post at Ellis will give young men and woman a look into the world of commercial construction.
“The difference is, this post will teach a little bit about commercial construction, along with electric, plumbing, masonry, HVAC — things like that,” said Dean Bushey an executive for the Boys Scouts Samoset Council/Mushkodany District. “I think it’ll be an exciting program.”
Bushey said the program costs $24 per year for each student, pro-rated at a cost of $2 per month, and while participants can expect to get dirty, no uniforms are required.
Ellis began flying an American flag this week — its way of signifying the start of open enrollment for the program.
“We realized that it would be a wonderful opportunity — from a community outreach perspective and a workforce development perspective — to start exposing kids to the different elements of what it means to build a building,” said Andrew Halverson, vice president of business development for Ellis.
Halverson said once the post has 10-15 members, the Explorers will elect officers and, like other local Explorer posts, meeting monthly.
Participants will begin by learning the basics of construction safety, Halverson said, the become familiar with rough carpentry and construction techniques, use of heavy equipment, cranes and excavation machinery.
“We really want to expose these students in a safe, comfortable environment, to learn all the different aspects of commercial construction,” Halverson said. “We hope it’s something they can use in their future.”
Halverson said Ellis sent letters home with about 1500 students across the school district, inviting them to apply for the program.
“It will give them extraordinarily great background to go into any trade, pursue any apprenticeship in the trades we expose them to,” Halverson added. “And Ellis would be committed to helping them find positions either with our company, or with other companies within Central Wisconsin that touch on these trades.”
“Students will be able to meet those who work at different companies in the industry, and these days, it’s not just what you know — it’s who you know,” Bushey said. “This will give the kids a pretty big leg up for their futures.”
Students who are interested but did not receive a letter can contact Halverson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bushey at email@example.com.
The Post plans to begin meetings in November or December.