JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Jackson County business wants young people to know there is a big demand for crane operators and heavy lift specialists. On Friday, the company invited a group of students to its property on Highway 57. Their on-the-job experience included climbing on board the cab of a crane.
The classroom looked like a construction site, and the instructors were experienced equipment operators. Forty career and technology students from George County High School spent Friday morning learning lessons like crane capacity and the proper way to hook-up a load.
"It's always good to have it underneath your belt, so if you ever want to work out there and do this kind of stuff, it's not a bad job at all," said George County High senior Juan Davis.
It was the first time Glenn Crane and Rigging hosted the mentoring program for students. Employees shared their knowledge and skills, hoping to spark the students' interest in jobs as crane operators and riggers.
"Your doctors, lawyers, engineers, are all important trades, but we also need someone to build those hospitals. We need someone to work in the different trades, and a lot of our older generation that has been certified and qualified, they're getting into retirement years. So, we just need some more of our younger generation to step up," said Bobby Brignac, with Glenn Crane and Rigging.
The highlight of the day was when the students got to hop into the cab of the crane and swing the boom.
"I was a little bit nervous at first, but once I got up there, it was fun," said George County High junior Calista Spears.
While most of the students are interested in welding, the on-site experience exposed them to other career opportunities.
"I like to learn by visual. I like to get my hands on stuff and learn. I'm pretty sure everybody else out here enjoyed it. We enjoyed it very much, and I'm thankful they let us come out here today," said Juan.
"We've got a lot of people that's looking for jobs out there, but there's a lot of jobs that are looking for qualified people as well. So, we're wanting to get some other businesses involved and get the interest of our young people to get involved in some of the skilled trades," said Brignac.
The company plans to hold the program four times a year and offer it to schools across South Mississippi.