TWIN FALLS — The Magic Valley Construction Expo wrapped up its two-day training session earlier this afternoon. The class provides high school and college students the opportunity to learn skills such as roofing and framing and being able to use certain tools properly.
Organizers have the students work with professionals from the region to try and inspire the next generation of builders and gives them a basic foundation to be able to pursue a career in this profession.
Local contractor and teacher, Brian Loosli, said, “Just having the confidence to try is probably the best thing they can take away from this little experience. The confidence to get out there and say, you know what? I don't know but I can learn and I’m willing to at least attempt and even if I fail, I can go ahead and try again.”
Many of the students in attendance were thrilled to be there and learn so much, including Tony Tapia, a senior from Magic Valley High School. For Tony, working in this craft has been his dream.
“This is something that I've always wanted to do since being a young kid. I’ve always been a student that wants to be hands-on. I’m not the best during classwork, I’m always fidgeting. I’m just the best at using my hands,” said Tapia.
Tony attended the Magic Valley Construction Expo for the first time last year. He managed to do very well in the program and because of his work was given a prize of a power tool and he even got offered jobs for that summer.
With such success in the program last year, Tony was motivated to come back and try and learn more skills. “I can really know more and learn more each day as I’m coming in and getting a better job. I think I can really take this with me because, down the road, what if I want to be here and be the one contractor, being here to help the students, knowing that I was helped by the same people as well."
Tony has had plenty of fun participating in this year's expo and has enjoyed being able to learn so much. Now, he is beginning to look to the future and get more work this summer and attend college to become even more affiliated with this profession.
He even has some long-term goals though out. “To be with a company for about a year or two, get enough information needed to grow my own business. From there, possibly, if I have a family, I could feed them with that type of work that I'm doing.”
A lot of the students share that goal and are looking to pursue that dream. The teachers hope this type of motivation and interest in this profession continues to grow, especially with the increasing demand for skilled laborers.
Loosli said, “I’m always encouraging kids to go out and try the things that are a little more difficult, pay a little bit more money but walk away with a different set of skills that many of the teenage jobs kids get.”