Castle High students get hands-on experience in the world of construction

A novel program gives Castle High students hands-on experience in the construction business

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A novel program is giving high school students hands-on experience in the construction industry. But it’s also becoming an effective tool for recruiting workers.

During the past several days, 13 Castle High Schools worked under the watchful eye of construction industry professionals, learning how to mix, pour and finish concrete and paint their school grounds and classrooms.

The students, who aren’t paid but receive credit for community service, said the experience is extremely rewarding.

“It’s really fun. You get dirty. It’s hard work. Seeing your final product at the end of the day makes it really worth it," said Tiari Hookano, who graduated from Castle High School this year.

Added Castle High sophomore Alaina DeGray: “I’m pretty artistic and I enjoy this a lot and it kind of brings out my creative side and at the same time you have to do what you’re supposed to."

It’s all part of a program sponsored by the General Contractors Association of Hawaii to give students a hands-on look at what it’s like to work in construction.

“They’re wonderful teachers. They’ve broken things down for kids who may not be as confident or don’t have experience," said school principal Bernie Tyrell.

“It’s just an amazing opportunity that we’ve been provided with.”

Contractors said the program will also help them recruit potential employees.

With the construction boom now in the middle of its eighth year, there’s a shortage of skilled workers and some contractors worry that the shortage will slow down some projects.

In a similar workshop at Kapolei High School in January, the GCA said a third of the students said they wanted to work in construction.

“We started with 30 kids and ten of the kids said they will pursue construction as their career," said GCA President Layne Machina.

Castle High senior Brian Bascas said he’s leaning toward working in construction.

“I was going to do heavy machinery operating and now I might be slowly going toward masonry," he said.

The program runs through the end of the week but the GCA hopes offer the workshops year-round.

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