The 2008 Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) CareerExpo and SkillsUSA Championships was held recently on a Thursday and Friday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, GA. The event drew a record-setting crowd as students from throughout the state came to explore the career opportunities that construction has to offer. This was the fourth such event presented by CEFGA.
The event, sponsored and presented by CEFGA, drew almost 4,200 total attendees. Students at the event represented some 107 schools from across Georgia. In addition, 211 construction-related companies were also represented at the event.
As they registered for the event, students were given hardhats and safety glasses, their to keep and take home.
The CareerExpo was popular with teachers, students and industry representatives alike. Daniel Bohmer, construction teacher at North Hall High School, described it as "a great hit with my students," while industry representative Calvin Pate of painting contractor Harrison Contracting Co., Atlanta, noted that "we really connected with the students."
Students were, if possible, even more enthusiastic, visiting with contractors, equipment suppliers, utility companies, trade associations and even the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Especially popular were hands-on opportunities ranging from operating a remote-control vibratory compactor to chances to take the controls of various pieces of heavy equipment.
The SkillsUSA Georgia Championships were held on Friday. Some 171 construction, engineering, drawing and design students competed in 16 different areas, including carpentry, masonry, plumbing, sheet metal, electrical, welding, heating and air, architectural drafting, and TeamWorks. Gold medal winners from the state championships moved on to the SkillsUSA National Championships in Kansas City, where two Georgia high school students from Cedartown High School earned national honors. Dustan Dayton placed third in the National Sheet Metal Competition. Jerry Williams also placed third in the very competitive National Welding Competition. Both students beat out 47 other state champions to bring home the bronze.
The 2009 Expo, as well as the SkillsUSA Championships (construction and architecture-related contests), will be held April 16-17, 2009 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, CEFGA officials have announced.
"We are very excited about our move to the Georgia International Convention Center," said Scott Shelar, executive director of CEFGA. "We are anticipating more than 5,000 attendees next year, and the massive space there - both inside and out - will allow us to continue to grow the event."
For more info on CEFGA programs, visit www.cefga.org.