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Building a workforce

Although a lot of kids plan to head off to college after graduating from high school, the Associated General Contractors of New York State are holding a career day to show them there are other options.

We recognize that not every kid wants to go to college or some don't want to go away to college at all, said Brendan Manning, a co-chair of the event with Barbra Mosher from the New York State Department of Transportation, who added there are alternatives in the construction industry.

The 10th annual Capital District Construction Career Day will be taking place at the Labor Training Facility on Wemple Road in Glenmont April 27-28. More than 1,000 students from 37 area schools will be taking part in the event to get a hands-on experience working as a construction worker.

"It allows students the ability to try different types of trade related to the construction industry," Manning said. "And the trades people will talk to them about the careers."

Industry professionals will talk to the kids about some of the apprenticeship programs that are available to them or what types of education they will have to have. Manning said they will also tell them what kind of hours they would be working, as well as the salary they could be expecting.

Students who take part in the career day will be doing things such as hanging sheet rock, laying bricks, driving a small skid steer loader, or a bobcat, and operating a bulldozer. Manning said there will be an operator supervising the young people as they use the machine, as well as teaching them how to use them.

"All of the machines are computerized," Manning said. "It doesn't take brute force anymore."

It is important to reach out to the younger generation, Manning said, because the construction industry has an aging workforce. The average age for workers in the industry is 47, so reaching out to the younger crowd is critical.

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