High schoolers get hands-on construction, building training - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

High schoolers get hands-on construction, building training

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MARION, Ill. -- A group of high school students are getting hands-on construction training from the Illinois Laborers and Contractors Joint Apprenticeship Program. The training is the first of its kind in the state. 

Thirteen students from Vienna, Herrin, Johnston City and Marion High Schools are participating. High School Junior Joseph Brown is one of the first students to be a part of the Construction Craft Preparation Program.

"I want to learn all I can. Get all I can from this," Brown says. 

It's only the first full week, but Brown says he and his classmates are already taking in new skills. "Until now, I have not done anything with harnesses. We've also learned things about OSHA and safety." 

Organizer Joe Davis explains the students will learn a variety of techniques over two years."They'll do concrete training and mason tending, where they learn how to build scuffles. The second year, they will be doing some blue print reading, grade checking and GPS training." 

Davis says he got the idea several years ago after talking to teachers and recent high school graduates about budget cuts, "I would interview people and they would all say that they didn't have building trades or wood shop classes." 

Davis is thrilled to see his idea come to fruition, and he's not alone. Students are also excited, like Hayden Byrley, who wants to become a builder, "Anywhere from a little home to a big two-story or three-story building." 

Students who complete the program, will be given interviews for an apprenticeship with Laborers' Local 773 out of Marion. They will have to complete two more classes before being able to work.

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