May is Building Safety Month, and the recognition serves to remind people of the importance of the people, ordinances and building regulations that keep buildings safe.
To kickoff the month, the Prince William County Department of Development Services recently invited students from Stonewall, Gar-Field and Woodbridge high schools to the Sean T. Connaughton Plaza for the county's Building Safety Day to meet with trades people and county building officials.
Officials and representatives from trade organizations who spoke during the gathering told the students that they were sorely needed as builders and workers, as well as county building officials and inspectors.
Dean Fortney, the president of the Virginia Chapter of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, said the trades were always looking to fill vacant positions with knowledgeable workers. "We need each and every one of you. We need new people, new ideas. New technologies are coming up, and the international electric codes are trying to keep up with them. You, as young high school students, you're involved. You see these new appliances. You see this new equipment. You're the ones that we need."
Vice Chair of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Maureen Caddigan, spoke at the event and encouraged the students to consider the jobs industry has to offer. "Schools are doing a great job in promoting the building trades as a career option and helping to fill the shortage of trades workers. I hope many of the students who have visited with us today decide to join these dedicated people and continue the important work of keeping our housing and our buildings safe."
Caddigan also thanked development services staff for their work. "As you know, Prince William County has an excellent reputation. They are known throughout the commonwealth and are thought of as a role model. Each day, they work with our residents and business owners to make sure our buildings are safe and to protect our first responders who need access to our buildings to save lives. They do an exceptional job of balancing code enforcement with customer service."
Courtney Dozier, the chief deputy of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, echoed Caddigan. "The Department of Housing and Community Development recognizes the leadership that Prince William County provides, not just to our agency, but to the commonwealth. The programs in this county are really paving the way in serving in a leadership role for all of our building officials. A lot of leadership is coming from this community, and we really appreciate it."