What started off as an eerie, misty morning quickly turned into a perfect, fall day in Portland. Morrow’s tower cranes began to emerge from the fog, as if out of a scene from a movie, as 200 plus attendees from area high schools made their arrival at NessCampell Crane + Rigging’s yard for a day of education and hands-on experiences. From rigging races with Lifting Gear Hire to testing out virtual reality with ITI, the students and teachers spent the day learning all there is to know about a career in this beloved industry, and just how many opportunities there are available.

The day was spent bouncing from station to station as attendees heard directly from members of the crane and rigging industry about how they got their start, what their average day looks like and just how easy it is to get involved in a rewarding career.

“I’m really excited to be able to come today,” said Chris Hipskind, a teacher at Columbia High School out of White Salmon, WA. “My students are at that point in their lives where they’re starting to figure out what they want to do for a living. They’ve been told all their lives that they have to go to college, and some of them just don’t really dig the whole classroom theme and are ready to do something different. So, it was great to bring 20 kids here today who are interested in trade and have the opportunity to see what’s out there.”

Hipskind added that what he liked about this particular field trip is that NessCampbell and the other sponsor companies showcased a variety of different aspects of the industry.

“We started off talking to the mechanics, and then we talked to the equipment rental people, the kids got to do the simulators and learn about being an operator, the rigging- It was a wide variety of things that they learned that were out there and they weren’t aware of previously. It’s difficult to teach that in a classroom setting, so being able to talk to the tradesmen and women that are involved in this is just ideal. Just having this ‘in’ with someone in the trade’s community will be invaluable for that first step in getting students in the door.”

One of Hipskind’s students, Jessica Miller, has been thinking about a career in equipment operation.

“It’s great that you can do an apprenticeship instead of going right to college and can still make really good money,” Miller said.

Carrie Matsuo, a graduation mentor for the Beaverton School District, work with students for preparing for their future post high-school.

“At Lift & Move, they got to work with rigging, talking to guys, touching equipment, putting on virtual reality simulators, and that’s what the kids like. I like that the stations are all in small group and they can talk to guys who actually work for the companies they’re talking about.”

“Everyone at the event was so enthusiastic and so kind, and it says a lot about not only this company [NessCampbell] but the event and this industry as a whole,” Matsuo added.

As the day drew to a close, the future was looking very bright for the industry.

“Despite unforeseen challenges with a teacher strike just weeks before the event, NessCampbell was successful with its outreach to the right people,” said Tracy Bennett, director, Lift & Move USA. “Students from more than a dozen schools were engaged and interested in careers in the trades. All of them are currently enrolled in career and technical ed programs, making them all of them highly-qualified attendees.”

“It opened up a lot of doors for the students and it was bigger than what I expected on so many levels,” said Jonelle Anderson, director of marketing at NessCampbell Crane + Rigging.

For information on upcoming events and how your company can get involved, be sure to visit www.liftandmoveusa.com.