MSD was one of the attractions for more than 1,200 high school students from across Kentucky who gathered at the Shelby County Fairgrounds during Kentucky Construction Career Days in September.
The annual event, sponsored by the Kentucky Construction Career Choice Council, exposes vocational and technical school students to careers in construction. More than fifty exhibitors gave the students a wide variety of experiences at this year’s September 21 and 22 gathering.
The hands-on MSD exhibit included a confined space entry display that replicates entering a manhole, a vactor truck, a catch basin cleaner, and a PVC pipe cutting contest. “They always love seeing who can cut the pipe the fastest,” said Troy Smith, MSD Operations Efficiency and Capital Program Administrator.
Anthony Brown, a senior at Meade County High School considering trade school after graduation, said the event is positive for those looking for options outside of college.
“I feel like if you want to go to college, you should, but sometimes it’s good to take other chances,” he said. “There’s something here for everyone.”
Attendance was down about 1,000 students from typical years because some school districts, including Jefferson County Public Schools, didn’t participate due to continuing concerns about COVID-19.
But Smith, who organized the MSD exhibit, said the smaller numbers worked in favor of the students who did attend.
“Students had more time at each booth with each vendor and got to learn more about each company and job.”
The event emphasizes the importance of trade jobs, which can provide a good income without the expense of a four-year education.
“We believe college is a good option, but it’s not for everyone. We want them to know there are other options.” Smith said. “Many of the students come from rural backgrounds, may have grown up on farms, and they already have the foundational skills such as mechanical or electrical work to fast track into the trades. Some don’t realize they are already on the way to a well-paid career.”