High school students planning for a future career learned about and experienced many different career opportunities in the transportation construction industry at the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) first annual career day on Sept. 20.
The Illinois Association of Aggregate Producers (IAAP) was there to introduce students to many skilled, rewarding jobs in the aggregate mining industry. Without aggregates providing the raw materials for roads and other infrastructure, all of the other careers building and maintaining the ever-expanding system of highways and bridges would not be possible.
Career Day began with a welcoming address to more than 300 students from newly appointed IDOT Secretary Milt Sees telling students about the opportunities in building trades in Illinois.
“This first ever Career Day provided an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the transportation industry,” said Sees. “Jobs in the transportation field serve the public in so many different ways. Our goal is to reach students at an early age and to open their eyes to professionally and financially rewarding careers in the transportation sector.”
Bill Sheftick and Ed Ridgeway, Bowser-Morner Testing Laboratories, along with IAAP Outreach Manager Shawn McKinney, passed out career information to students and answered questions at the IAAP booth. Sheftick and Ridgeway allowed students to conduct a sieve analysis of an aggregate sample and learn by experience one aspect of this career in aggregate testing and quality control.
Other careers highlighted by more than thirty exhibitors included civil engineering, engineering technology, safety engineering, and surveying and construction trades.
According to the Department of Labor, the number of wage and salary jobs in the construction industry is expected to grow approximately 15 percent through the year 2012 and numerous job opportunities in other sectors of transportation are expected to open as baby boomers retire.
The IAAP Safety Committee was a principle sponsor providing safety glasses to each student attending the event. Safety is a high priority in the construction industry and was stressed to students participating in numerous hands-on activities throughout the day.
The IAAP Public Information and Education Committee is currently working to produce a DVD highlighting many career opportunities in the aggregate industry. The intended audience will be high school and college students and will be made available to members, high school guidance counselors and teachers around the state. The DVD will be narrated along with handouts containing additional career information for students.