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Hundreds of metro-east students attend construction fair in Belleville

The Southern Illinois Builders Association invited students from schools in the metro-east and southern Illinois for their 23rd annual construction exposition, which ran Tuesday through Thursday.

More than 900 students from metro-east schools came to Belle-Claire Fairgrounds for the exposition.

Students entering the exposition were greeted with brochures filled with information about various trades, ranging from hiring and training timelines to the average salary one would expect in each respective field.

“We want them to know everything about what’s out there,” said Southern Illinois Builders CEO Donna Richter.

Carpenters, steamfitters, cement workers and other industries filled the booths inside the fair building while students in small groups shuffled from trade to trade.

“We like to keep the groups small,” Richter said, “That way they can get more hands-on experience.”

Richter said that the exposition is a great way for teens to find a fulfilling career.

“Some kids have never seen what a pipe fitter or carpenter really does,” Richter said, “This is a great way to show kids that not everybody has to go to a four year university. This serves as a great opportunity to learn about what’s out there.”