PEORIA, Ill. -- More than 1,000 students are trading their math and science textbooks for hard hats and goggles.
Tuesday is the first of a four day Construction Career Expo.
The annual event gives 8th graders from around the heart of Illinois the opportunity to test drive trades in the construction industry.
"Studies have shown that 8th grade is the optimum time to introduce the trades," said Clint Drury, Associate Director of the West Central Illinois Building and Construction Council. "We have had some success - upwards of 50 percent - over the past 5-6 years enter the trades."
"At this point in time, we need to get your kids to start thinking about their future, because it is so heavily related to how they do in high school and whether they want to go on to college or go into a trade," said Patti Fierce, Co-Teacher at Von Struben Middle School.
The Construction Industry Career Expo began in 1998 in Peoria and has since been copied by organizations across the nation.