OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — About 1,500 potential future candidates for the construction industry came to the fairgrounds Wednesday as part of the Build My Future OKC career fair to see if a career in a trade is right for them.
For a little hands on learning, they were given the chance to hammer or screw in nails, lay brick and learn about heavy machinery among numerous other things.
“We want to let high school students know that there are a wide range of not just jobs, but career opportunities available in the construction industry that they don’t necessarily have to go on to a four year institution,” said Executive Vice President of the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association Elisa Mcalister.
Mcalister said just about every exhibit at the career fair dealt with construction in some form or fashion. Students like Ashlin, from Little Axe High School, got the opportunity to experience it.
“It’s good to see the varieties and the job offers and like the openness to figure out the next step on my path,” said Ashlin who is already attending classes in a carpentry program.
OG&E, Dolese, Oklahoma State University-OKC and many other exhibitors were in attendance.
“These careers set students up for a long term financial gain with a lot of our students starting out well above minimum wage,” Terry Clinefelter said. The department head of the construction technology program at OSU-OKC.
Clinefelter started at the university 15 years ago. Wednesday he showed students their architecture construction program, high voltage linemen program and a number of others as well.
“We have a number of different programs that lead directly into industry, and these careers set students up for a long term financial gain with a lot of our students starting out well above minimum wage,” Clinefelter said.
However, there’s one message both Clinefelter and others are trying to relay about construction trades that they’re hoping can hit home.
“We need you,” McAlister said. “We have a major labor shortage in the construction career trades right now.”
“If I had twice as many students and twice as many graduates, they would all have jobs,” Clinefelter said. “Right now, the need out there, depending on the section of the industry, is huge.”
For more information, visit buildmyfutureokc.com.