2013 Construction Career Day Wows the Crowd

Over 900 students from 23 King County-area high schools attended the 2013 Construction Career Day event held at Magnuson Park in northeast Seattle on Oct. 2 and 3. This marked the event’s sixth year again with major support from AGC of Washington the AGC of Washington Education Foundation and Washington Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Team.

Students enjoyed a half-day immersion into a wide range of trades crafts and information ranging from construction management carpentry and  electrical work to heavy-equipment operation HVAC systems plumbing numerous apprenticeship and training programs and more. This was no classroom lecture either. In addition to a number of live demonstrations of craftwork – including drywall installation steel and rebar work carpentry roofing and masonry – students were able to install roof trusses and door/wall assemblies; drive forklifts bobcats and front loaders; work with power drills drivers and saws; lay tile and brick; operate boom cranes and compacters; see technicians create and work with a 3D BIM model on a giant 30x20 screen and plenty more. Safety was of course the top priority for the event starting with each student receiving his or her own pair of safety glasses and ear plugs as well as being outfitted with a hardhat and safety vest while outside in the heavy-equipment area. They also received a sack lunch and Construction Day t-shirt to commemorate the day.

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2013 Construction Career Day students enjoyed a wide range of hands-on construction activities.

Students were often wide-eyed at the myriad of activities they observed and participated in. Indoors the 3D modeling demonstration garnered plenty of wows oohs and aahs and virtually every hands-on activity area was frequently crowded with enthusiastic participants and observers alike.

Students had plenty to say too. As one male student from Truman High School’s Career Academy noted “The construction-management part was really cool; I liked how they showed what they do and how they plan stuff and the 3D modeling was cool; I didn’t know it was so realistic.” Another student observed that “The construction industry to me is so interesting because there’s so many things you can do – operating machines and so many different trades. A lot of people -- especially women – don’t see it as a profession for them but it’s open to anybody.” A young lady also from the Truman program added “I had no idea how much money truck drivers made and how many benefits they get; sometimes it’s long hours but they get to be their own boss.” She also added with excitement in her voice “I also had fun running the Bobcat. I’d like to get more into that kind of thing.”

Glenn Owen Construction Program teacher for Marysville-Getchell High school’s Academy of Construction and Engineering is big on Construction Career Day too. “This is our fourth year here and our kids love it. It’s got plenty of hands-on activities; they learn a lot about apprenticeship programs and all the career options there are out there. And beyond high school the UW CM program gives them an opportunity to see that it’s not just hands-on things but also engineering and management as well. The kids go back being all excited about getting involved in construction and engineering.” The event is apparently often strong and lasting for attending students too. “We had three kids from just last year that have gone into construction” added Owen. “It pays off; these kids are getting involved. It gives them a chance to see what real-life people are doing in this industry and what they can earn when they stay with a program.”

This year’s vendors included Job Corps Land Surveyor’s Association of Washington NAWIC Puget Sound Port of Seattle Puget Sound Electrical JATC Scarsella Bros. Inc. Seattle Central Community College Seattle City Light Seattle Vocational Institute Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries Washington Business Week Washington Women in Trades Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC Western Washington Cement Masons Apprenticeship Western Washington Plasterers Apprenticeship and the Construction Center of Excellence.

Construction Career Day is made possible annually by generous support by a wide range of participants. Students of the Seattle Vocational Institute were invaluable in assisting with event set-up on October 1st as well as with helping to assist and guide attendees through their day and UW Construction-Management students provided hands-on lab demonstrations and information on a number of construction types. Finally a heartfelt thank you to Career Day sponsors: Washington State Department of Transportation Seattle Parks Department Construction Industry Training Council Construction Center of Excellence King County Building Trades Ness Crane Coast Crane Star Rentals Pape Material Handling NC Machinery Airgas City of Seattle Parks Department Northwest Laborers Employers Training Trust Pacific Northwest Ironworkers King County Carpenters and Sound Transit.