High school students explore careers in construction

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COLOMA, Wis. (WBAY) - It's National Apprenticeship Week, a time when the state and country are working to address a shortage in the labor workforce.

At an event on Wednesday, high school students not only learned about careers in construction, but they also heard the importance of the industry under the next state administration.

Governor-elect Tony Evers campaigned on the need to improve the state's infrastructure, a topic he continued to tout when talking to hundreds of high school students in Coloma on Wednesday.

According to Evers, "Clearly, in the state of Wisconsin, as we get our policies squared away as it relates to making sure we have funding to rebuild our roads and make sure our bridges are safe and bring all of the things to Wisconsin that we need in order to be a good, functioning state, we're going to need operating engineers."

More than 500 students from 50-plus school districts are participating in an "Externship Day" put on by Wisconsin Operating Engineers Local 139.

"It gives students an opportunity to see what is available for them after school besides, there's a lot of kids that want to work with their hands, so it's an alternative to going and getting a college degree and going to work as a white collar," says Terry McGowan, president of Wisconsin Operating Engineers Local 139.

The event at a training center in Coloma introduced students to possible careers in the construction industry.

McGowan adds, "They toured our 400 acre site, and we introduced them to several pieces of equipment that the 10,000 men and women of this organization operate -- cranes, bulldozers, excavators, you name it."

Hearing about the careers and what opportunities are out there for them, as well as the hands-on experience, definitely piqued the interest of attendees.

Camron Kuczala, a high school junior from Goodman says, "I came in, I didn't even think I wanted to get near this job but I actually learned it's very fulfilling job."

Not only fulfilling, but one the students were told comes with unending possibilities.

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