May 20, 2011
TC3 fair introduces students to trades
About 500 area high school students learn about jobs in the construction field
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Trumansburg High School junior Stephanie Demming lays bricks Thursday at Tompkins Cortland Community College during an annual careers in construction program for local high school students.
DRYDEN — Mike Morgan is interested in becoming an electrician after high school, but Thursday he had the chance to speak with not just people in that profession but other trades associated with construction.
“I wanted to see all the options in construction,” the Cortland High School junior said as he visited booths manned by people from colleges and trade unions at Tompkins Cortland Community College, and joined classmates outside to watch how heavy equipment was operated.
“I’m hoping to follow an electrician this summer, around the capital project at our school,” Morgan said, referring to his school district’s renovation of school buildings. “I’d like to see how it all goes together.”
About 500 other high school students from the Southern Tier and the Cortland region came to TC3 for the 7th Annual Central New York Careers in Construction career fair.
The college’s athletic center was occupied by booths and demonstration sections, where volunteers showed such professions as bricklaying, carpentry, heavy equipment operating, and geothermal energy. “Green” technology also was showcased.
Alfred State, Broome Community College, the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Habitat for Humanity and various building companies had booths.
In a parking lot next to the building, workers showed off snow plows, a crane, backhoes and other heavy equipment, allowing students to operate some of them.
Twelve high schools sent students, said Victoria Zeppelin, who helped to coordinate the event for TC3. The event was sponsored by the Skills Trade Diversity Council, with major funding from the state Department of Transportation.
Zeppelin said the idea was to recruit young people for the construction trades and increase the diversity of workers, focusing especially on recruiting women for what have traditionally been male-dominated professions in engineering and construction.
Guidance counselors and technology teachers offered the chance to attend the fair. Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES sent students from construction technology classes.
Troy Beckwith Jr. of Cortland and Tom Twentyman of Tully, students at Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, said they had studied some of the professions in class but still wanted to hear about opportunities.
Beckwith said he works with his father in construction.
Tom Herting, who teaches technology education at Cortland High School, brought 13 students and said he wanted them to try operating a backhoe or welding or bricklaying.
“The hands-on aspect is what I like,” he said.
Students were outfitted with a hard hat, knapsack for carrying materials and safety glasses as they entered the athletic center.
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