Tapani Inc., and C&E Rentals donated equipment and labor to promote the construction industry at Evergreen High School on Thursday
Steven Jacka got behind the wheel of a trencher Thursday afternoon, true-to-life hands-on training in the construction industry.
A junior at Evergreen High School, Jacka did not even have to leave campus to experience what it was like to operate heavy machinery.
The heavy machinery came to Evergreen High School.
Part of Skilled Trades Center Dig Day, experts from Tapani Inc. and C&E Rentals were on hand, with their equipment, to give students a taste of life in construction.
“It was pretty great,” Jacka said. “We were trenching up my uncle’s yard last year. It would have been so nice to have one of these.”
Jacka is not necessarily going to go into the construction industry, but he appreciated Thursday’s opportunity.
Thomas Cunningham, also a junior, was seen operating an excavator.
“It’s pretty cool to have this opportunity, basically on-site experience,” Cunningham said. “It’s great for your future to understand what you want to be doing, what you could be doing.”
After college, Cunningham said he might go into the construction industry as an engineer.
“I want to do something in the trade-esque field,” he said.
That sounds perfect to teacher Chandler Eby, who was feeling like a kid on Christmas morning as Dig Day came to Evergreen. He is, after all, a teacher in the new Skilled Trades Center on campus.
“It’s nothing short of incredible,” Eby said. “The response we got from the initial request was just overwhelming support. Tapani and C&E Rentals … all the equipment has been donated, all their labor has been donated. They just wanted to make this happen, bringing the real world to the kids.”
“Promote the industry,” said John Jordan of Tapani, who was advising the students on one of the excavators. There were other machines on site, too, including a bulldozer.
“These are the future” Jordan said, pointing at the students. “We need to build good people. We invest in the future.”
Nicoleta Pearce, a rental coordinator at C&E Rentals, said they were there to promote the industry and get young people involved, interested.
Tapani and C&E also had applications on hand in case students were looking for employment opportunities. Tapani has summer internships available to those who are at least 16 years old.
“Dig Day is new to us. We love it as a company. We hope to get out to more school districts with it,” Pearce said.
Dave Barela, general superintendent at Tapani, said it is important to get in front of the students to “show them what we do in the dirt world.”
He noted that it is a rewarding career with great earnings potential.
“I think this is so cool,” he said of Dig Day. “We’re super excited to be able to partner with the Evergreen School District. We’d love to make this an annual thing.”
The teacher, Eby, would love that.
“We’re trying to do similar things with all of the trades,” Eby said. “This is a big one that is very under represented in a school setting. This is not normal, to dig up school property.”
In fact, Eby said he checked around with other school districts and other skilled trades centers in the region, and he thinks this might be the first of its kind: “Using heavy equipment with students on school property.”
Then, after a short pause, he just could not resist this description of Dig Day at Evergreen High School:
“You could say it’s a groundbreaking event.”
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