FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --With high school graduations just around the corner, and many young people are thinking about their future careers.
One career awareness program has a nailing contest as part of its activities. The goal is to give students a chance to see what it's like to work construction. Everything from pounding nails to operating a piece of heavy equipment.
"Not every job requires a four-year degree, and there are a lot of very viable career paths," said Lori Morton. "We want to broaden the awareness about career technical education and the career pathways that are available."
The Fresno County Office of Education brought students from nine Valley high schools to Harris Construction in Fresno, to give them a taste of what it's like to work in construction and let them know jobs are available.
"One thing you can't export is construction. You gotta have skilled trade people right here in our valley-- right here in our region," said Mike Spencer, Harris Construction.
Representatives from various union apprenticeship programs advised them about opportunities in construction
"The students that are graduating from high school we are offering them a career. Not just a job, but a career in construction, and we are looking for the very best," said Scott Lewis, Carpenters Training Commission for Northern CA.
Lewis said the pay is competitive with professional fields.
"So beginning apprenticeship package is about $50,000 a year. When they journey out their top rate is about 40 dollars an hour."
With California's booming population the need for roads, bridges, schools, and the skilled workers is on the rise, and for Clovis High Senior Nicole Berry, it's an appealing career choice. While most construction jobs don't require college, she's planning to major in construction management at Fresno State.
"I like building things, I like doing stuff instead of sitting behind a desk and writing a lot of papers. I would rather be out creating something people can see and enjoy."
Programs like this are part of a statewide effort to boost interest in career and technical education.