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8th Grade Construction Career Expo

ROCK ISLAND, IL– Safety glasses may not be the most fashionable, but at the fourth annual Eighth Grade Construction Industry Career Expo it was what everyone was wearing.

Local Union 25

The Expo, held by the Quad City Career and Technical Education Consortium (QCC TEC) and Local Union 25 took place on Tuesday, December 6th through Friday, December 9th at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 25 training facility in Rock Island.

Eighth graders from three counties in Illinois were invited to attend the two hour expo where students were given an overview of all the different building trade crafts. Nearly 1,150 students attended during the four day event.

“This is the first year we have hosted the Expo at our state of the art training facility and the feedback was tremendous” according to Matt Lienen, Local Union 25 training coordinator. The facility had ten different building trade craft stations where students were given an overview of each specific trade as well as an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and try their skills out first-hand.

John Deere Middle School student Aaron Golding explained, “I liked hammering the nails during the carpentry session.” Even though he’s not sure what he wants to be when he grows up, he now knows what it takes to make it in the construction trades. 

In addition to carpentry, students also visited stations focusing on plumbing, pipefitting, electricity, ironwork, bricklaying, cement masonry, plastering, glaziers and laborers. “It’s great exposure to some of the career possibilities out there with a hands on focus,” said Lora Rathje, a teacher at John Deere Middle School. She thinks the Expo is extremely valuable to students and she especially appreciated the constant emphasis the instructors placed on math and science and the importance of staying in school. 

With so much information covered in a short amount and note taking not really an option,  students were given a neck lanyard with a built in USB flash drive containing more details on each construction trade. They were also able to leave fashionably in their safety glasses which were provided free of charge.