Best Practice “Build Your Future” a Construction and Welding Expo Highlighting Careers in Central Texas

My job as a Career and Technical Education Specialist at Education Service Center Region 12 (ESC Region 12) allows me to work with independent school districts and businesses in the central Texas region. ESC Region 12 recently sponsored the Construction and Welding Expo at the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) in Waco, TX. I worked with Donna McKethan, ACTE 2018 Administrator of the Year, and her staff on this project. Over 300 students from across the region attended this hands-on event. 13 school districts participated in the event entitled “Build Your Future” and it featured opportunities to see welding, precision metal, construction and electronics/robotics. This event has evolved from the annual ESC Region 12 Welding expo, which only focused on Welding. ESC Region 12 joined forces with Waco ISD, Matheson Gas, American General Contractors, HOT Builders Association, Texas State Technical College and the Heart of Texas Workforce Solutions to make this event bigger and better than before.

The hands on event gave students the opportunity to see careers in Welding, Precision Metal, Robotics and Construction. Several national vendors were in attendance previewing the latest technology in Welding and Construction. This expo is dedicated to promoting welding and construction as a viable option for long lasting and profitable careers. This event was a completely hands-on, demo-style expo. Students and teachers were able to see and use all of the latest technology in the industry.

Students completed a survey at the end of the event and they were asked if they learned something new at the event. Many students commented on new techniques that they learned, the importance of safety and safety equipment, the high demand for jobs in these fields and the high wages that you earn in these careers. 60% of students surveyed stated that they are highly likely or likely to pursue a particular college, career or consider military enlistment because of this event. 80% of students indicated that they will attend this event next year (several were seniors and will not be able to attend again). 90% of students said that they would recommend this event to a friend. With the success of this new format and venue, ESC Region 12 is committed to continuing this expo in the future. For questions on how to set up a similar event, you may contact cholecek@esc12.net or donna.mckethan@wacoisd.org.

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