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Students participate in construction career day


HOWELL, Mich. (WJRT) – Mid-Michigan high school students got a real world opportunity at a construction site.

They participated in the annual Construction Career Days in Howell. The two-day event gave students the opportunity to explore careers that don’t require a college education.

Jodi Guzak, a school counselor at Swartz Creek High School, said it is not a typical field trip.

“We have a lot of college field trips that we take them, but college is not necessarily for everybody,” she said. “We want to make sure we are giving equal time to the trades.”

It was a hands-on experience like no other for the group of students. Matthew Maygar was among the 30 or so students from Swartz Creek to participate.

“I think it is a pretty cool opportunity and o this stuff,” he said.

Maygar described how he and other students spent their day.

“Learning how to use some big machines, operating cranes, diggers, concrete palms and all of that sort of stuff,” Maygar said.

Guzak said the goal is to expose students to multiple options post graduation.

“We pushed the students to do some sort of credentialed education beyond high school. We talk to them about college, but we also talk to them about the trades and getting some sort of certification so they have access to a career beyond high school,” she said.

The event is put on by the Operating Engineers Local #324.

“If we can get them out here and put some tools in their hands let them operate some heavy equipment they will run into something that sticks,” said John Hartwell, career and outreach representative for Operating Engineers Local #324.

The construction career days offers students an on the job experience that cannot be found in a textbook.

“They get to talk to our apprentices that are currently in our program, plus our retirees they really get an education on the overall industry and all of the opportunities in that industry,” said Hartwell.

More than 4,000 students from around the state in grades seven through 12 were expected to participate over the two days.