SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– People in the construction and trades industry are hoping to attract young talent to their fields to help with the increasing worker shortage issues. 

Around 2,600 high school students, from around 80 area schools and programs, gathered in Springfield Wednesday for the Build My Future construction showcase.

“At this point, you can call almost any construction company, engineering, architecture, they all need workers,” said Megan Short, Build My Future Board Member.

With more than 70 hands-on exhibits, students were able to test out multiple careers.

“I like the ones where they’re doing like carpeting and stuff,” said Joshua Plaster, a Springfield High School student. “Makes me feel good knowing that a lot of these things are part of things you might need for your future, or just at home.”

Organizers said this type of event is critical since everyone feels the effects when there are worker shortages in the construction industry. 

“When it comes to the manpower shortage in construction, you’re going to feel that impact when it comes to your house,” said Short. “When you need to renovate your office, if you’re trying to build something new. We all know that there’s that infrastructure funding coming down, but we need the workers that can actually help carry that out. Help us make sure our roads are great, our bridges are great. If we don’t have the workers, we can’t use the funds.” 

Students are being asked to start considering their futures early.

“My woodshop teacher said it would be a real good opportunity to see careers outside of getting a standard college degree,” said Dakota Walton, Springfield High School student. “I just like the whole concept of welding. I think it’s a really good career choice.”

Organizers said some students left with a job Wednesday. 

Due to COVID-19, this is the first time the event was held in two years.