Students from Coxsackie-Athens CSD pose with the toolboxes they built.

The Questar III Business and Education Partnership Service has teamed up with the Northeast Construction Trades WorkForce Coalition to raise student awareness about careers in the building trades. Recently, the toolbox build program was brought to fourth graders at Edward J. Arthur Elementary School and Coxsackie Elementary School, both of Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, where students learned the hands-on skills to build a toolbox.

With guidance from a sponsor, a Coxsackie-Athens CSD student focuses on assembling her toolbox.

“The toolbox build program is one of our most popular activities,” shared Northeast Construction Trades WorkForce Coalition Executive Director Pam Scott. “We offer it to students in grades two through five to begin planting the seed about work in the trades.”

The event was organized by Questar III, Northeast Construction Trades WorkForce Coalition, and GNH Lumber, who also provided materials. Excelsior Wood and Hitchcock Builders developed the kits and along with B&B Forest Products, Huntersfield Ministries, Questar III and GNH Lumber, guided students in building the toolboxes.

“Events like this bring invaluable experiences to students,” said Questar III BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Gladys I. Cruz. “Not only do they teach practical skills, but they also instill a sense of pride and accomplishment, which can inspire a student’s future career path in the trades.”

“We’re happy to be a part of the toolbox program,” said GNH Lumber President John Ingalls. “GNH Lumber understands the importance of sharing knowledge with the next generation of craftspeople and helping them understand opportunities in the building trades. It’s our future.”

The Northeast Construction Trades WorkForce Coalition seeks to educate students directly. By partnering with local builders, they organize programs from 2nd grade through high school. The sessions are educational, interactive, and give students hands-on experience with the tools and technology used in construction. Questar III’s Business and Education Partnership Service attends the Northeast Construction Trades WorkForce Coalition’s monthly meetings and is involved in similar efforts to develop a wide range of K-12 activities and broaden awareness of building trades careers. Questar III BOCES will replicate this activity with several school districts through the end of the school year.

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