ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Summer camp is taking a turn for students in Round Rock ISD. They’re going to be working in the hot sun building a basketball court — and maybe a career.
“I just like building stuff,” says Khaleal Patel, who has helped his dad around the house but admits most of his building experience involves Legos.
The soon-to-be high school freshman is one of 41 kids taking part in the construction camp, organized and funded by Ranger Excavating. The kids are going to excavate, pour concrete and put up the hoops for a basketball court at Voigt Elementary in Round Rock with the help of professionals.
The camp gives kids something to do while their parents are at work during the summer, but organizers say the larger goal is to spark an interest in construction where there is a shortage of workers.
The National Association of Home Builders recently said there are more than 400,000 open construction jobs nationwide — the highest number since before the Great Recession.
The rising cost of college is another driving force behind the camp.
“It’s not something that typically a high school kid would get into, they don’t really know about [construction] or what it entails,” says instructor Halle Herzog.
“You don’t need a college degree to get into construction and you still make like good money,” she says.
For the kids in the camp, the short term payoff is getting to see their final product.
“It’s going to be a moment like, ‘Wow! I just did that,'” Patel says.
Two different classes of campers will build the court over two weeks.