CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Whether it was having the chance to operate heavy machinery, finish concrete or lay bricks, thousands of students from around the region have the chance this week to learn about careers in the skilled trades.

Members of the Western Reserve Building Trades Council are hosting their annual Skilled Trades Expos this week at the Canfield Fairgrounds.

It gives the students in middle-and-high-school grades the chance to see the equipment up close and even try it out for themselves.

“We learned what machines they use to operate, how many people they have on a job at once,” said Josh Segool, a student at Boardman High School.

One valuable lesson in all of this is some of the age-old stereotypes about the trades no longer apply.

“It is very important because a lot of this stuff here is “man stuff,” but they are showing us that women can do it, too,” said Miykeia Vaughn, a student at Campbell High School.

Members of the building trades have hosted the event since 2019. This year, they wanted more hands-on activities for the students.

“You know that old saying, ‘Tell me, I may remember. Show me, I may forget (involve me and I learn).’Well, involve these kids. They’ll get excited and that’s what we’re doing this year,” said Tony Ditommaso, with the Western Reserve Building Trades.

Organizers say while not every student will choose a career in the trades, it could offer valuable life skills.

“If stuff were to break down like your car or something in your house then you would know what to do,” said Pat West.

Another session is planned for Thursday.