In the effort to bring more young people into construction and the trades, it could pay off to look even younger than you might think.

That is certainly the belief of Robert Romanoff, president of Absolute Electric, New York. In February, he presented a one-hour seminar to a group of first graders at the city’s Dwight School, an independent private school. In his presentation, he introduced the first graders to the world of construction trades, including careers such as electrician, plumber, carpenter and iron worker.

The seminar was part of Dwight School’s international baccalaureate curriculum, and the students were studying a unit of inquiry called “Where We Are in Place and Time.” Romanoff was asked to use his expertise to give his presentation on the modern world of construction.

In addition to the presentation itself, Romanoff also handed out hard hats and safety vests to all the students, sending them all home with a reminder of the day’s presentation.

Romanoff said it’s critical that the industry continues to reach out to younger people about the benefits of a career in construction. In his eyes, it is particularly important to get them interested in the early-learning years.

“The kids are learning about construction, building, materials and key elements of the finished product they’re looking at,” Romanoff said. “At the same time, they’re also finding out about how different tradespeople contribute their skills.”

The presentation also included information on careers such as boilermaker, fencer, glazier, mason and more.