Operating engineers hope hands-on career day will inspire Michigan students

High schoolers get chance to operate heavy equipment

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

HOWELL, Mich. - Many children dream of getting behind heavy equipment, such as a bulldozer or a crane.

The operating engineers are hoping to tap into those dreams and inspire a new generation fo operators.

Michigan has thousands of miles of roads needing repair. There's also a need for thousands of operating engineers to fix them.

They're putting on a show in Howell for the high schoolers to alert them to the fact there's a lot of money to be made in a career they may have never thought of before.

Nearly 4,000 high schoolers bused in from all over the state to try their hands at heavy equipment Wednesday and Thursday.

Lansing High School's Mindy Hodges said she's thinking about becoming a dental hygenist, but she gave an excavator a try.

"I think it's a really good learning experience, especially for young women like me, since men dominate the construction industry," Hodges said.

There were also demolition cranes, forklifts and jackhammers.

Operating engineers training director John Osika hopes to attract at least a couple of students with a big money start.

"You're looking at anywhere from $18 to $20 an hour, plus $20 in benefits," Osika said.

Carsen Hecht, of Vasser High School, said he knows what he's doing. His father owns a construction firm he hopes to take over one day.

"I just enjoy running the equipment," Hecht said.

If you have a high school diploma or GED, the next hiring cycle starts June 10. Click here to apply.

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