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Friday, 17 November 2017 17:29

Building the future: students experience construction trades at hands-on event Featured

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AUGUSTA - Looking into the future and choosing a job when you're in high school can be hard.

An event in Augusta Friday helped students nail down a career path with a hands-on look at different construction trades.

More than a thousand students were getting their hands dirty Friday in Augusta.

"I think most of the programs here are pretty cool, even just watching them," said Chris Caldwell, a student at Mount View High School.

The 18th Annual Craft Championships, hosted by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, gives high school kids from across the state a chance to try different trades.

"When we bring them here, they can see them, they can touch them, they can see if they're good at something, and hopefully be encouraged to do more," said David Dorr, director of Somerset Career & Technical Center.

"They are like 'I don't think I can do it', they him and haw, and they watch others go through and they say maybe I can and they surprise themselves," said Lawrence Campbell, site superintendent for Langford & Low.

"I think it's really cool that everyone comes together and try new things, if you've never done anything like that," said Caldwell. "Like brick laying, I just tried that. I had never done that."

Some who might not know what they're doing in the future are hoping to find a career path that sticks.

"Masonry I've never done before, welding that was a cool experience for me," said Grant Jocobson, a student at Windham High School.

"They find something fun, and they discover that they can do this for a living and make a livable wage and better," said Dorr.

And with a shortage of skilled trade workers, companies benefit from the event as well.

"Our companies have the work, they just can't find the employees to do the work," said Hope Perkins, president & CEO of Associated Builders & Contractors of Maine.

This event aims to connect the wires, getting students interested in the trades while introducing them to companies with that may be their future employers.

"Everyone here is helpful, we're all employees looking for good workmen, someone skilled or willing to learn," said Campbell.

"It sets the stage for them to put their hands on it, see what each individual trade has to offer," said Perkins.