DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Eighth graders from Iowa and Illinois middle schools on Thursday got some hands-on experience hammering, drilling and generally getting their hands dirty at the Hands-On Trades Expo in Davenport.
Students from more than a dozen Quad Cities area schools got an introduction to trades like carpentry, roofing, plumbing, masonry and more. Representatives from about ten local businesses came to offer students guidance and encouragement as they tried their hands at applying dry wall and nailing down shingles.
Organizers say it's important to get young people thinking about the trades as a possible career path at a young age.
"We have a lot of people who are going to start retiring and so we’re looking kind of ahead to say, who’s going to fill these positions?" said Julie Huffer from the Quad Cities Builders and Re-modelers Association. "So that was kind of the need, and it’s really across the nation," she said.
Mike Bohnstengel said there's an unfair stigma about the trades, that it's a tough career or only for people that didn't do well in school. He said it's actually a smart career choice.
"They can go into the trades, be in there and not have all that college debt," said Bohnstengel. "They can make the same money and in a lot of cases, more money than they could with a college degree," he said.