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Over 1,800 students from across the region once again took part in experiencing the world of construction at the Sixth Annual Massachusetts Construction Career Days (MassCCD) earlier this month, held at the New England Laborer’s Training Academy in Hopkinton. The annual event has become a staple in the Massachusetts construction world and Massachusetts Department of Education.

This event is geared to give students information on job and educational opportunities in construction, engineering and environmental fields in both union and open-shop companies. “The 2008 event had more equipment, more engineering experiments and more students than any previous year,” said MassCCD Coordinator Chris Ahmadjian.

Since the event’s inception, P.J. Keating Company of Lunenburg has sent several pieces of heavy equipment and employees to the event, allowing students to experience first hand what the industry is all about. “This is an excellent vehicle to expose our company and industry to approximately 1,800 young men and women who someday could become employees," said Jim Reger, President of P.J. Keating Company. “My favorite memory of the event was watching a student drive one of the large pavement rollers. The operator next to him let him go fairly fast with the roller vibrating,” Ahmadjian said. “The student was grinning ear-to-ear. Then the instructor turned toward me, and I noticed that he too was grinning ear-to-ear.”

Exhibitors at the event included construction and related companies, vendors, equipment dealers, labor unions, apprentice programs, colleges and engineers. The exhibitors donate their time and equipment; however, there is no cost to exhibit. “Each year we plan for 600 students per day. In the past, even with diligent planning, the numbers often come up short. This year, we overbooked thinking that come the actual day, some students just wouldn’t make it. To our surprise on day number one, everyone showed up. We had approximately 675 students,” said Ann O’Neil of the Career Construction Days Committee. “We were thrilled! As the word spreads about this event, more and more students want to attend.”

There were approximately 200 volunteers on hand at the site each day making sure students and their chaperones were given as much information as possible. “The 21 students (from the BiCounty Collaborative) plus our staff had a great time and learned so much. The vendors were extremely helpful, patient and knowledgeable,’’ said Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Kevin Callahan of the BiCounty Collaborative.

The Construction Career Days program started in 1999 in Texas, and today 22 states participate in this type of event. “The Massachusetts show is considered one of the best in the US for introduction into construction,” Reger said.

For more information on Massachusetts Construction Career Days, go to www.engineers.org/massccd/index.html.

 

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