SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For students, breaking into the workforce can be tough, but one South Dakota organization is looking to help build them up.

After a successful pilot program last year, the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota, partnering with Southeast Tech, are giving students a chance to try out a career in construction.

“We just hosted a signing day for our construction career academy that we launched with Southeast Tech last year. The reason why we launched the program last year is because we want to get students excited about going into a construction career field,” Director of Workforce Development for the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota Margaret Pennock said.

This gives students an opportunity to be a pre-apprentice for a construction company of their choice.

“It means a lot. I can’t wait to do this. It’s… I’ve been hearing a lot about it from the other people, and they seem to enjoy it, so I can’t wait to enjoy it also,” Junior, Signed on with First Rate Excavate Alec Sosa said.

“It gives them that opportunity to really get hands-on experience and to say, ‘Hey, I really want to be a part of this construction industry,’ or ‘this is just not for me,'” Pennock said.

It looks to provide more than just a learning experience but one’s students can build from… quite literally. 

“Last year we built the recital hall at Augustana; so I laid out trim pieces, I laid some concrete, I built ramps for the huge machine, the scissor ladders to go on,” Senior who signed on with Henry Carlson Helen Telahun said.

Telahun just renewed her contract for her second summer as a part of Henry-Carlson. She’s excited for all the new first-time students as they’re ushering in a new generation of creators.

“In South Dakota, it’s always Winter or construction season and so all those people that are getting older or are retiring, like, we need someone to be able to do the construction in our town. It’s obviously a very big and fast-growing city, so us going into these fields just inspires more people ourselves,” Telahun said.

And out of that maybe build something that can last forever. 

“These friends, like, we all have a group chat we all talk to each other it’s like… it’s a family here, honestly,” Telahun said.

“Anytime you can get real-life experience and get to do something you haven’t done before so that you understand it and know if you’re interested in it and if you’re good at it. Then it’s a great opportunity for you,” Pennock said.

The pre-apprenticeship goes until early August.