Hands-on experience was the theme of the day Friday at Lorain County JVS’s Building Trades Career Expo.
“We just all got together as teachers with the idea that putting on a show with these vendors would greatly benefit our students,” said Jason Rodriguez, a carpentry teacher at the school who helped plan the event.
“We’re giving them some experience of what’s really out there in the working world and to use some equipment that they don’t normally have access to,” he said. “It’s also great to get all of the students together who are studying different trades like carpentry, electrical engineering, masonry, and others for real hands-on experience.”
More than 20 businesses took part in the expo including Lowe’s, Carter Lumber, Lakeshore Tool and Equipment, Bosch Tool, and local trade unions.
“We heard through one of our distributors about this event,” said Tim Gibbs, district sales manager at Bosch Tool. “My goal is to show the next generation of trade workers what kinds of new technology they’ll be dealing with.”
Students from all over Lorain County — including Oberlin, Wellington, and Amherst — got their hands dirty with jackhammers and also learned how to operate a working mobile lift cart and crane.
“As young as I am, this is a great chance to go into the industry knowing more about the job,” said carpentry student Brandon Harris of Amherst after drilling a hole with a jackhammer. “The hands-on experience is so much better than just sitting in a classroom. With this we’re learning things that will stay with us throughout our life.”
Others pointed out the value of learning as much as possible about a trade before choosing it as their career.
“Once I get to the job site, this kind of learning will give me an upper hand on the more experienced guys,” said Wellington’s Max Mohrman, a carpentry student. “It’s good to see what the job feels like before you commit to it, because you could find out that there is something better out there for you.”
Oberlin’s Mark Woodson, who is studying industrial electricity, talked about how the vocational school has gave him more confidence in his choice of trade.
“At first I wasn’t too sure, but this has been a great class that I have learned a lot in,” he said. “I was always more of a hands-on student than a book-smart one. My goal is to become a substation engineer.”
Building trade supervisor Jason Kasczay saw the first-year expo as a success.
“Today isn’t just about the hands-on experience. It’s about introducing these kids to the faces who will eventually be hiring them into the workforce. Those two things give a great impression of what to expect in the real world,” he said.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Oberlin News-Tribune Amherst student Brandon Harris tries out a jackhammer at Bosch Tool’s section of the expo.