ConstructReach's 'I Built This' event provides construction exposure, experience to high school students

Pattonville High School students interested in engineering, architecture, design, construction and business got a behind the scenes look at the Bridgeton Target remodel on Sept. 15. 

ConstructReach, a construction industry workforce development initiative and consultancy, hosted an “I Built This!” event on Sept. 15 in Bridgeton outside the Target store that is in Week 13 of a 20-week renovation project. 

About 40 Pattonville High School students joined teenagers from neighboring school districts to learn about the construction industry and engage in hands-on activities, including those related to carpentry, fixturing, design and technology, mechanical and plumbing.

Senior Nicholas Drayton said he learned about a lot of new opportunities.

“It was a super dope event,” he said. “I really liked the carpentry station and getting the chance to use the tools and put up drywall. All of the hands-on stuff was pretty neat.”

Students connected with general contractors and other professionals to learn more about careers in the construction industry while gaining unparalleled insights. They also took a tour of the store currently under construction and learned about the redevelopment process.

Senior Allie Basta said she wants to have a career in construction management. 

“What I liked most about today was I got more insight on what I would be going into and what that looks like,” she said. “Having an idea of all the different trades that are needed for a project like this gives me a better idea if I want to specialize in any of them or if I want to be more general.”

She said she shops at the Bridgeton Target and liked learning about the changes happening to the store.

“I like how it's simplistic with a very modernized design,” Basta said. “I thought they made the store larger by raising the ceiling, but she said they just changed the lighting and it really blew my mind how lighting can change an entire outlook and perspective.”

ConstructReach’s “I Built This!” initiative introduces the construction industry to a diverse new generation and, in turn, assists an industry facing an impending labor shortage crisis. Through these events and a variety of services offered, ConstructReach aims to transform the construction industry within the next decade.

The students were chaperoned by college and career preparation coordinator/counselor Michelle Luraschi, school counselor practicum student Laura Hubbard and industrial technology teacher Darrell Langston. 

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