The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) offered high school students an opportunity to be a construction worker for a day at the 4th annual Rhode Island Construction Career Days. Held at RIDOT’s Midstate Maintenance Facility in Coventry April 20 and 21, nearly 1,350 students from more than 40 schools attended.
Participants were able to operate backhoes, jackhammers, and bucket trucks under the supervision of professional operators. There were interactive demonstrations in bricklaying, plastering, welding, electrical wiring and iron working. High school students interested in a trade also had a chance to meet construction industry professionals at either of the one-day sessions.
“The construction industry is a great profession,” said James R. Capaldi, RIDOT’s director. “I have worked as a civil engineer for RIDOT for 34 years and can’t think of a better career anywhere.”
Rhode Island’s construction season officially began on April 15 and more road construction projects will be under way this year than ever before in the industry of RIDOT. This means that high paying opportunities, fitting many different interests in the construction field, will be open to those looking for a job.
“Today’s students represent the pool of workers the construction industry will recruit from,” said Jeff Cathcart, coordinator of the event. “Construction Career Days expose participants to rewarding and diverse careers. These events offer students career options that they otherwise might not have been exposed to.”
RIDOT and FHWA sponsored Construction Career Days in association with Construction Industries of Rhode Island, New England Laborers Tri-Funds, Local 57 Operating Engineers, Rhode Island Public Works Association, Rhode Island School to Career, Rhode Island Technology Transfer Center, and the University of Rhode Island Transportation Center.