Students get hands-on experience with construction expo event

More than 1,800 students from area schools came together to learn information and skills about construction in Sikeston today.
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 3:22 PM CDT
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SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - More than 1,800 students from 49 southeast Missouri schools came together to learn information and skills about construction in Sikeston on Wednesday, October 5.

This was all part of the Build My Future High School Event put together by the Associated General Contractors of Missouri, an organization representing nearly 550 construction based contractors in the state.

This was an opportunity for students to visit with industries who provided students with a hands-on experience with various aspects in the construction trade.

Students were able to mold concrete, weld, operate machinery and more.

Event organizers told us they are trying to show students there are other career opportunities in addition to college-based paths.

“It’s designed to help young people understand what they opportunities are in the construction industry,” AGC President Leonard Toenjes said. “Everything from working with their hands to professional careers, inside the offices, everything from beginning to end.”

Toenjes said students learn better with a hands-on experience as they are able to go up in a lift, operate an excavator and see up close how to work the various aspects of the industry.

“Do some things that actually help them understand, not only the cognitive but the physical satisfaction of working with your hands and actually accomplishing something, doing something, building something. That means a lot,” Toenjes said.

Students we talked with said they appreciate the opportunity from the different companies that took the time to show them the tools of their trade.

“I think it’s beneficial because a lot of people don’t realize that they want to go into something until they try it or experience some of the things that goes on,” Lora Ainley said. “So, after doing it, and you realize that you like it, then it’s a lot easier. They give you a lot of information on how to get started too so that’s really beneficial.”

One student said it’s nice to be able to have career options right after high school for those that want to start their life path.

“A lot of people don’t want to go to college so it’s good to have things that you can do without having to go to college that will still help you in life,” London Hunt said.

According to a report from the AGC, the construction industry has employed more than 140,000 in August in Missouri, and is an important driving force for the state’s economy.

This event is also planned for several other areas in the coming weeks across the Show-Me State.