AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — In a usually vacant Airway Heights factory, students were hard at work.
"We have ten high schools represented from across eastern Washington and about 44 students," Inland Northwest AGC Executive Director Cheryl Stewart said.
The SkillsUSA Carpentry Competition provides a chance for career-technical students to show their skills and a chance for judges from the construction industry to see them.
"A great way for industry to connect with these students who are interested in going into their industries," Stewart said.
The hope is the interest doesn't end here.
Rodrigo Ascencio is a first-year shop teacher.
"As a high schooler, if you told me I could spend a whole day building, I think I really would've enjoyed that," Ascencio said.
He says events like this teach more than manual labor.
"Tools can be taught how to use but to have those skills of problem-solving, understanding a concept, or even hard work and ethics, is something that comes with the work," Ascencio said.
And for an industry looking for a new workforce, a renewed interest in the trades couldn't come soon enough.
"We've moved away from career-tech education for a long time and I can tell you I think it's coming back," Stewart said.
Most of last year's sixteen participants left with a job offer and are now working on projects like the North Spokane Corridor.
"Those who did want to work in construction, not a one of them had a problem finding a job," Stewart said.
"But, there's also still a great need of workers, of people that aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and swing a hammer," Ascencio said. "And that's not something that's going to die off because we're always going to need someone to build a house."
HOW TO ADD THE KREM+ APP TO YOUR STREAMING DEVICE
ROKU: add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching for KREM in the Channel Store.
Fire TV: search for "KREM" to find the free app to add to your account. Another option for Fire TV is to have the app delivered directly to your Fire TV through Amazon.
To report a typo or grammatical error, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.