High School Students Get Unique Opportunity to Learn About Trades Careers
Over 20 students were introduced to the trades and received hands-on work experience through a local 4-day pilot program, “Tools for the Trades,” at the New England Laborers’ Training Center in Hopkinton, MA.
The program was sponsored by the MassHire Metro South/West region and its youth programs, in partnership with the Massachusetts AFL/CIO.
The goal of the program was to help students learn about careers in various trades fields and perhaps spark interest in a path, different from but just as rewarding as the traditional college experience.
The exploratory, paid opportunity allowed students to experience what a trades career is like. Throughout the week, students were introduced to fields such as carpentry, plumbing, operator engineering, laboring and more. Students experienced common tasks of those trades, including set up and clean up; and met representatives from local building and construction trades, postsecondary training programs and community colleges.
Students were provided work boots, hard hats, goggle and vests to be worn during their hands-on work throughout the week. They visited the International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 4) to experience the daily work of an Operating Engineer where they got to experience using virtual training simulators and construction equipment. They also learned about scaffolding, line and grade work, the hazardous waste often encountered during demolition, and flagging in work zones. They even practiced pouring and laying concrete.
Over 80 students expressed interest in the pilot program and 22 were selected to participate through an application process. The group included students from towns including Norwood, Waltham, Framingham and Marlborough, and were from different high school grade levels. A mix of male and female students participated in the program.