SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Springfield construction companies are hoping to inspire the next generation of construction workers at the first-ever “Build-U” event.

The Springfield Contractors Association (SCA) is hosting a four-day event to teach teens about construction work.

16-19-year-olds will have the opportunity to try out jobs such as excavating and crane work.

The event organizers say the careers in the field do not require a college degree, just a good work ethic.

“There’s a great deal of demand and not enough people to fill all the roles that we have. We have people that are retiring, and people that aren’t wanting to get into the workforce,” says Apac Project Manager John Edwards.

The event is free to students, funded by SCA and member donations.

Some students now have a new interest in construction, including OTC freshman Kenny Goodman.

“That wasn’t even a career choice for me. But now that I came here, it’s like, I’m interested in it now,” says Goodman.

Hailey Flores, a 2021 graduate from Hillcrest High School, says that she had fun working the machines.

“I thought it was kind of fun. And like when you first get on it, it’s like, trying to figure out the controls, but, I think even going on like different machines, some of them have the same type of controls, so it’s easier to maneuver,” says Flores.

Edwards added that construction work does not always mean building and outdoor work.

“There’s a misperception of that the construction industry is old-school, it’s dirty, it’s nasty, and I don’t want to say that it never is. But there’s a lot of roles in the industry that are in an office. These are positions that do not require a college degree,” says Edwards.