More than 1,000 students getting hands-on chance to explore construction careers

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LAKE VIEW, N.Y. (WIVB) – This week, about 1,200 high school juniors and seniors will be spending a day out of their classrooms, getting a hands-on chance to explore careers in the construction industry.

Members of the construction trades unions are spending Wednesday and Thursday at the Operating Engineers, IUOE Local #17, site in Lake View to show the students the ropes for this year’s Construction Career Days.

“Not everyone is built to go to college and this is an opportunity for these kids to have a great career and they get paid while they learn. They don’t accumulate student debt, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for them,” said John Magney, a retired carpenter who serves on the board of directors for Construction Career Days.

From carpenters to ironworkers to bricklayers, and everyone in between, these construction trades are hiring.

“The average age for a construction worker right now is about 48 years old, I believe, and so we need to fill that void. Let these kids know that that this is something they could do,” Magney said.

The kids have the chance to find a good fit, trying out several activities, from driving in nails with the carpenters to operating heavy machinery.

“There’s a welding tent, there’s brick laying tents, right here there’s carpentry tents, any field you can imagine, it’s here,” said Fredonia High School junior Dawson Bird.

Bird notes that construction trades are not for everyone. “I had a hard time pounding in a nail,” he laughed.

But, he says he appreciates the opportunity to see if and how these trades could fit with any of his future plans.

“Other people like playing with computers or become doctors, and we need them, but this is good for the ones that like to work with their hands and build stuff,” said Tom Halligan, business manager for the Ironworkers Local #6.

Wednesday brought about 600 kids from many suburban schools to explore their construction career options.

About 600 kids from Buffalo City Schools are scheduled to be on site Thursday.

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