The Steel Erectors Association of America (SEAA) hosted nearly 300 students from five school districts and several dozen military veterans for its construction career fair in January 2022. SEAA’s Long Range Planning Committee spearheaded the event, which was hosted by member company Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc., at their training facility in Houston, Texas.
The career fair allowed attendees to rotate through stations staffed by member companies and equipment suppliers. This format enabled them to participate in hands-on demonstrations and learn more about the different career paths within the industry.
The students came from Career and Technical Education programs, where they are enrolled in welding, architecture, construction, and manufacturing programs. Many of them are in process of completing OSHA 30 training and certifications.
“The students actively participated at each station and asked great questions,” said Nick Morgan, President of Adaptive Construction Solutions, Inc. “Their interest is due in part to already receiving technical instruction, which highlights just how important CTE programs are to education. Many of the students were interested in learning about how to start their first job in the industry and what the career pathways are,” he continued.
“The industry is constantly evolving and embracing new technologies to make work safer, easier, and more productive, which is important for students to see,” said Geoff Kress, President of SEAA and President of Gardner-Watson Decking, based in Oldsmar, Fla. Kress demonstrated an Overhead Exoskeleton from Hilti for students. “This lightweight device is worn by a worker to help delay arm and shoulder fatigue when working with arms overhead,” he explained.
Ultra Safe, a manufacturer of full body safety harnesses, rope grabs, and fall protection equipment, gave students a chance to try on harnesses. They learned why fall protection is essential when working at height and the importance of knowing how to perform a quick rescue after a fall.
Shelby Erectors set up a rebar tying station where students could try three different types of tools to tie reinforcing steel. Hilti showcased a powder actuated stand-up decking tool that is used to fasten metal roof decks to steel structures.
Meanwhile, Nelson Stud Welding demonstrated its tools and processes. “Students saw how to load the stud into the gun, how to put the ferrule arc shield on, and how to shoot the stud into place,” explained Duke Perry, VP of Sales/Operations at Gardner-Watson Studs. “Many of these students were familiar with traditional perimeter welding techniques, and were surprised by how quickly the stud welding process delivers a complete cross section weld,” he said.
Students also got to try their hand at simulated equipment operation, including earthmoving and lifting equipment, and welding. On the simulator from CM Labs Simulations, students could feel what it was like to sit in the cab of a crane or excavator, and Industrial Training International offered a VR crane simulator experience. Wearing a welding helmet and shield, students were also able to practice simulated welding exercises at the Miller Electric booth.
Other SEAA members that participated in the career fair included: Basden Steel, Deem Structural Services, Empire Steel, Peterson Beckner Industries, Steel Service, and PILES.LIFE, a workforce development initiative sponsored by SEAA members to promote careers in construction.
“Even though our company is not based in Texas, we support SEAA’s efforts to promote careers in construction and to join forces with members around the country in these efforts,” said Jack Nix, COO of Shelby Erectors and SEAA Membership Chairman.