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ITD construction school provides hands-on experience to new students

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - Some future construction workers are getting their boots dirty for the first time this week.

The students are part of the Idaho Transportation Department’s construction program.

ITD has held the program 4 times since 2015. Students spend five weeks learning hands-on construction skills, essential for major contractors.

“The focus of the program is really to get them doing the work and learning how to do it hands-on,” ITD Public Information Officer Justin Smith said. “So when they get to the end of the program, they can stand out there and show off their skills to our contractors and often get hired right at the end of the program.”

Most graduates are hired by either ITD or a contracting partner. Around 75% of the program's graduates are currently working within the construction industry.

Students, like Max Becker, use the class to get a leg up in the industry.

“It just gives you such a head start. Whereas if I was just to start with no education, it's really hard for an employer to go, Hey, I really want you involved, but you have no education. This gives you such a step up that once you submit a resume and a cover letter, it's really hard for them to say no,” Becker said.

Max worked the last few years as a motorcycle service advisor. But when he heard about the class, he knew it would be the perfect avenue for a career change.

Other students are looking for a way to restart their careers. Deanna Draper was studying for a career online when her school lost its accreditation. She hopes the program will allow her to build a stable career going forward.

“I’m hoping to be able to build a better life and like a good, stable career out of this. I'm hoping also that it's something that I'll be able to pass down for my son,” Draper said.

This year’s program started Monday, March 21st.

Four days into their training, students are already getting their first taste of hands-on experience.

“What they're doing is they're learning basic demolition and concrete work. We have some sidewalk here at the rest stop that needs to be replaced. And so they're getting an opportunity to just get their feet wet. This is their first in the field training today,” Smith said.

They spent the majority of the morning learning how to pour cement to replace the crumbling sidewalk outside the rest area.

ITD will continue training programs in Boise and Rathdrum in late April and early July.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8.


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