Forget the beach. High schoolers spend spring break learning construction

Forget the beach. High schoolers spend spring break learning construction

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Under the watchful eyes of construction professionals, 29 Kapolei High School students are spending spring break working on campus construction projects.

A supervisor from Layton Construction observes as Kapolei HIgh School students install a white board. Contractors are teaching basic building skills during a week-long workshop at the school.
A supervisor from Layton Construction observes as Kapolei HIgh School students install a white board. Contractors are teaching basic building skills during a week-long workshop at the school. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

“They’re going to be working on different projects on campus, like fixing benches and installing about 130 white boards, so our classrooms have more usable work space,” assistant Principal Sandy Calio said.

The General Contractors Association of Hawaii pitched the idea to Kapolei for a spring break workshop for kids interested in the building trades.

GCA President Layne Machida said the kids are the workers of tomorrow.

“We have an aging workforce right now," he said. "What we’re trying to do is develop programs with high schools and with elementary schools so we can establish our own workforce here in Hawaii.”

The pilot project is called the Construction Career Development Program.

When the school announced it was doing it, 58 students applied for 30 positions. Those who were chosen first had to ace their job interviews with human resources personnel from contracting companies.

Eleventh-grader Jaish Twining jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience. She wants to be a diesel mechanic.

“When my counselor told me about it I was interested right away because there was never a program like this before. This is the first time that they introduced this to us. It’s a great opportunity!” she said.

The week-long training provides a good overview of the industry.

“Surveying, logistics, all of that. We do that before doing the main heavy work that everyone always associates with construction,” senior Joshua Kaina said.

The students also learn to work safely and to show up for work on time.

Contractors said it’s possible some of the participants could get hired after they graduate.

"It's an internship. It's a great way for them to see how the kids are working," Calio said.

Kapolei High School is funding the program with grant money. Contractors are volunteering their time and donating supplies.

The school hopes to do this again during the summer, when Castle High School gets on board with its own workshop.

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