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San Antonio High School Students Explore Industry Trades at the Texas Construction Career Initiative's Construction Career Day

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The following article was authored by Michelle Neundorfer and originally published on Construction Citizen.

On April 11, United Tool and Fastener had the privilege of attending and presenting at the 6th annual Texas Construction Career Initiative (TCCI) 2018 High School Construction Career Day at the Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall in San Antonio. More than 600 students from at least 32 schools in the greater San Antonio area had the chance to meet with over 50 exhibitors and construction professionals representing various trades, including United Tool and Fastener’s (UTF) Safety Specialist, Charlie Gerson, and San Antonio Salesman, Brian Yezierski.

“This year, exhibitors included general contractors, HVAC, plumbing, welding, drywall, tool reps, safety reps, heavy equipment, and college institutions talking about the different trades and levels of education necessary, depending on the path taken,” explained TCCI coordinator and MAREK Workforce Development Training Coordinator, Stacy Gunderson.

Power tool and accessory producers DeWalt and Milwaukee were in attendance to answer students’ questions and non-profit construction associations such as The Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association and the Hispanic Contractors of America San Antonio.

At the special event, students were able to test and learn about various tools, speak with representatives from various university construction programs, including Texas A&M, Texas State Technical College and Tulsa Welding School, test the latest construction technology, and learn about safety and fall protection while watching or being hoisted in the air by UTF’s own Charlie Gertson.

The career day also included a skilled trades competition, where eight high school teams were judged on their skills in plumbing, dry walling, electrical wiring, carpentry, and safety. Neopod designed a small build that required students build a bathroom with working plumbing and electricity and DeWalt furnished the tools used in the competition and the prizes for the event. One of the eight teams were made up entirely of girls.

Event organizer, Stacy Gunderson, stated that the main goal of the event is to promote the construction industry to students who are nearing graduation and entering the workforce, because many do think about the opportunities that exist in the field (of construction).

“So many people in the construction industry are unaware of the programs that exist in local high schools and the student(s) who might be willing to enter that field if they knew more about it,” Gunderson explained. “Having this event gives us (the construction industry) an opportunity to do both. The exhibitors get the opportunity to make contacts with the students and their instructors, and the students get to see and visit with several companies in one location and see just how big the industry truly is.”

This year’s event was better than past years because more trades were represented, giving students more opportunities to learn about the possibilities of the industry, and more scholarships were afforded, thus better impacting a larger group of students.

Instructors often send Gunderson emails about the success and the impact the event has on their students.

An instructor from Floresville, Clifton Rogers, said “the students all said it was a great day. I just want to thank you all for the work that everyone puts into putting it together.”

Another teacher, Patrick Clarke, from Natalia Independent School District, was appreciative of all the time and effort put forth to make the event a success.

“Thank you very much for taking your time to put the career day on. As an Ag. teacher, I know how much effort, time and hard work goes into these workshops. You have done a great job putting these on.”

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