Build My Future Construction Showcase draws in 2,700 students

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - More than 2,700 students will gather at the E-Plex in Springfield Wednesday for the third annual Build My Future Construction Showcase.

The Build My Future Construction Showcase is meant for all high school students across Missouri. The goal is to start filling construction and trade job openings. Right now, the industry has more openings than there are qualified workers.

Part of the issue lies in baby-boomers retiring. High school students also don't get much hands-on experience in the construction field to see if it sparks their interest. The Springfield Build My Future Collaborative solves that problem by inviting schools to participate in a day of hands-on exhibits. The Build My Future event includes activities representing architecture, bricklaying, heavy equipment operating, virtual reality simulations, welding, and more.

Megan Short, the Executive Director for the Springfield Contractors Association, explained the importance of getting millennials interested in the labor force can't be stressed enough. She says if these jobs are not filled, somewhere down the line, communities and economies will start to feel the impact. "It's going to get tighter, things are going to start getting more expensive," began Short. " It's the whole supply chain piece that everything has to fit together or we're going to start looking at projects that are more expensive, take longer to complete, and that ends up impacting economic development."

Short also talked about what she hopes students attending the event will learn. "We really want for the kids to understand these are the opportunities, and it's not just about the kids really, because we have counselors that are going, and teachers, and things like that," said Short.

The event will be Wednesday, April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the E-Plex at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. A total of 76 hands-on exhibits will be available for 77 schools and programs attending from a 19-county area.