Students learn construction industry hand-on at Magic Valley Construction Expo

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Local organizations, construction companies and contractors worked together to teach students about the construction industry during a two-day workshop.

Students across southern Idaho came together for the first Magic Valley Construction Expo held at the College of Southern Idaho.

This event was put on by several organizations including the Magic Valley Builders Association, the city of Twin Falls, along with Southern Idaho Economic Development.

"This is what we call the Twin Falls construction combine, where we had contractors set up different stations," said Nathan Murray on Friday. Murray is the director of economic development and urban renewal with Twin Falls.

He said their goal was to teach high school students about the different aspects of trades and the construction business.

"How to roof properly and how to frame walls. Maybe sometimes instructions that are really important that we don’t think about as a key part of our life," he said.

Murray said many contractors in the valley are short on workers.

"We hear a lot from our contractors in the area that hiring is a big issue. We thought this was a way for them to try and train up that next generation of workers," he said, adding that many of the contractors came out and donated their time and materials in order to do the training.

For Zack Rueda, a student from Xavier Charter School, he said he enjoyed the expo.

"I enjoyed the roofing, me and my buddy we hung out around the roofing. We did a lot of the roofs that are on the sheds now," he said.

During the two-day event, the students worked with contractors and learned how to build sheds and vanities.

"I actually enjoy it, because I don’t want to be a guy sitting at a desk. I do enjoy being outside, even if I hate being out in the cold," Zack said.

Companies even told some students if they were interested in working, to apply for jobs with their businesses.

"I definitely enjoyed this experience a lot and I definitely enjoyed the fact that I was able to come out here and get to know some of the different things that goes on," he said.

Zack said construction work is actually less work than he thought.

"I knew it was harder work, but from what everyone describes it as and how I went through, it didn’t seem that hard and something I could do over the summer," he said.

The sheds and vanities built were donated to local veterans and nonprofits in the Magic Valley.

"It feels very nice to be able to do something for everybody, especially the veterans who risked and sacrificed their lives for our country, so it's nice to give something back to them," Zack said.

Murray said they want to bring the expo back in the coming years.

"Hopefully we can grow this program a little bit and get a little more involvement. We had about 30 students each day. We’d like to grow that a little bit next year and also give back while we’re doing it," he said.

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