Wanted: Young, enthusiastic, well-trained people to work hard for low pay.

They may not phrase it that way, but managers at Benning Construction Co., a $7-million industrial and commercial contractor in Atlanta, find top-notch students of building construction, engineering, and architecture for full-time summer employment by posting advertisements at local colleges. The company asks faculty members to identify four or five of the most talented among the dozen or so applicants and then places these students in the field as trainees or laborers. The students help managers at construction sites and sometimes receive academic credit, depending on their school's policy.

"The students we get are extremely motivated, and end up being among our best workers," says president T. R. Benning Jr. Since they have little or no experience, they can be hired at low wage levels. However, their enthusiasm and high motivation make them extremely productive. The program also creates a pool of loyal, college-educated workers the company can tap in the future. So far, about 10% of the students hired eventually join the company after graduation.