Block Kids comes to KMES
There was plenty of creativity from Kasson-Mantorville fourth graders last week as 40 students competed in a Block Kids event hosted by the Southeast Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.
During the evening, students have a limited amount of time to build a structure out of Legos, poster board, tin foil, and string.
Once the time is up, each student has the chance to show their projects to the judges where they are judged on different things.
Aside from the competition, students also have the chance to visit with different companies and learn and do different activities at their tables.
Laura Sheehan, chapter president, explained that they are very lucky to have schools in the local community who are willing have the program come to the school.
“We are lucky to have schools in our community open to us bringing this kind of program to their schools,” said Sheehan.“Being able to introduce many career choices to children at this age gives them time to explore many interests. We are fortunate that our members employers are such big supporters, and participation from our co-workers is what makes this a great experience for all of the children who attend,” she added.
Because of the labor shortage in the area, along with many baby boomers getting ready to retire in the next few years, Jessi Hanson, the immediate past president, explained that it’s very important to get young people interested.
This program is important for both young girls and boys. The industry is starting to face a real labor shortage and as the baby boomers continue to retire, the problem will only get worse, so exposing young students to the construction industry is crucial for the sustainability of our industry,” Hanson explained.
While they are still young, Hanson explained that the structures that the students come up with is quite impressive.
“The structures that some of the students come up with is what is most interesting. It’s very impressive to see what they come up with,” Hanson said.
Ariana Wright, KMES Elementary School principal, called the evening a success.
"This event was successful because of the exceptional partnership and volunteers within the NAWIC organization. Our students were able to experience hands on activities with true tradeswomen and men,” Wright said.
The purpose is to give students the chance to explore their imagination, learn more about construction and the opportunity to meet people in the construction industry. The program is run each year by NAWIC members supported by volunteers from their employers which include many of Rochester’s general and specialty contractors.
Winning the competition at K-M was Kathryn Bourgault. She will now go on to compete at the regional round.