WAUKESHA -- A nonprofit that encourages kids to explore careers in the trade industry made its first stop in Waukesha County on Thursday, Jan. 24.
At Milwaukee Tool, hundreds of Waukesha County students were building a foundation for careers in construction.
"In the recession times, a lot of people left the construction industry. We didn't have a lot of people coming back and filling that," said Travis Schreiber, Kids Building Wisconsin president.
In an effort to fight the skilled worker shortage, Kids Building Wisconsin was born.
"We see a need to get kids exposed and see all the awesome careers in construction," Schreiber said.
On Thursday, more than 800 middle school students explored what they can be when they grow up.
"I want to be a builder," said Ed Miller, Waukesha STEM Academy 5th grader. "Because I have freedom to build whatever I want."
The nonprofit was formed six years ago in Madison, but the expo marked its first event in Waukesha County. There, some students repaired air ducts.
"We had to align the holes together, put in the bolt, and finally, we had to put a clamp on the top," Miller said.
Or practiced a mock demolition -- while others took a dive into virtual reality.
"I mean this is the future of the trades and we're so passionate about the trade," said Ty Staviski, Milwaukee Tool CFO.
They are laying the groundwork for kids to not only learn about new opportunities, but try them out too.
"It's incredibly rewarding," Schreiber said.
Coming up in May, Kids Building Wisconsin is hosting a similar event in Madison that is free and open to the public. CLICK HERE to learn more about this event.