GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Labor shortages in the construction industry are significant and widespread. But a new program run by the Green Bay Area Public School District aims at showing students they can find a career in the building trades.

For the last eight months, eight Green Bay high school seniors have been building this home on North Broadway, literally from the ground up.

“It gives our students real world experience in the construction trades,” said Brian Frerk.

These students are enrolled in the school district’s Bridges Construction and Renovation program which offers them a hands-on learning experience in the construction and renovation industries. The end goal here is to expose them to an industry where employees are badly needed.

“There is a huge shortage of young people in construction and the trades in general and we have to find a way to try to fill that void,” said Program Director Frerk.

Students like Fernando Nunez work with professional contractors for one year, learning carpentry, structural design, blueprint reading and more. He’s hoping to take these skills and pursue a career in architecture.

“With this I get to see both perspectives of what it takes to build a residential home,” Nunez said.

All leave with high school and college level credits, prepared for an apprenticeship in the trades, if they wish.

“Getting kids in a hands-on experience in a project like this helps them decide if this might be a pathway for me,” said Frerk.

The program is supported by a number of partners who provide tools and equipment the students use while on the job as they learn more about possible careers in construction. A field where jobs are expected to grow by 12 percent over the next six years.

A recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America showed 80 percent of construction firms had difficulty hiring qualified employees.