The HBA of Greater Springfield (Missouri) went with the hands-on approach to spark the interests of area high schoolers and inspire them to explore career opportunities in construction.
By partnering with more than two dozen construction industry and workforce development organizations, the local HBA helped plan “Build My Future.” The interactive, a one-day event was held earlier this week and drew the attendance of more than 900 high school students from throughout southern Missouri.
The students didn’t just listen to and watch demonstrations from residential and commercial contractors. They also got to roll up their sleeves and lay brick, trowel concrete, build bridges, operate heavy equipment, and take part in more than 40 other interactive exhibits set up inside and outside the expansive Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E*Plex.
According to Charlyce Ruth, the HBA’s EO, having displays that featured interactive elements was the key to the event’s success. Bridge building, brick laying, marshmallow gun making (using PEX tubing), simulated truck driving, virtual welding and backhoe operating were all among the most popular exhibits, she said.
To publicize the event, the HBA and its event partners worked directly with the leaders of schools throughout the region. Ruth said that the initial outreach efforts to school counselors were somewhat ineffective. But when they began contacting the schools’ principals and superintendents to promote registration, they started to see the results they were after.
The HBA put together this short video of the event highlights.