Last week, several students attended the Construction Careers and Education Expo, presented by the Central Iowa Apprenticeship Coordinating Committee. The two-day event was held in Des Moines at the Iron Workers Training Center and was designed to be an exposure opportunity for high school students interested in the construction industry. Unlike other career fairs with booths and pamphlets, this expo had hands-on equipment that students could operate from a variety of different trades. Students tested their skills on an excavator by picking up propped up tennis balls and even jack hammered solid rock. One of the more impressive exhibitions was a virtual reality auto painting training station. The participants got immediate feedback on how well they covered the simulated car as a way to gauge their skill level and interest in a career.
The four staff members responsible for getting students to participate in the expo were Education Liaison Aric Rush, Testing Coordinator Don Teague, who works with Hi-SET students, Vocations Director Ken Hageman, and Treatment Operations Coordinator Joel Porter, who also runs the World to Work extracurricular activity. The three of them identified students who would benefit the most from this exposure. Typical high school students are not fully aware of what they want to do when they enter the workforce, which makes this type of exposure to the construction industry beneficial. It can help inspire them to enter this field, or at the very least provide an appreciation for the demands that construction careers require.