FAIRLESS HILLS, Pa. (WPVI) -- Students at Armstrong Middle School in Fairless Hills were able to put away the textbooks away and see one of their school subjects come to life Tuesday.
"I did something like this in elementary but to this extent, nobody has ever brought it out like this," said eight grader Taurean Jewett.
Allan Myers Construction brought out its augmented reality truck which allowed about 70 students to learn what it's like to operate construction equipment, raising their interest in STEM-Science Technology Engineering and Math- and see how it's used in the construction industry.
"We actually went through using Google Sketch-up to show how things are built in four dimensions before they are built for real, just trying to make the connection with technology and how things are built to get more kids interested in the field," said Allan Myers Executive Vice President Brock Myers.
Heavy equipment operator jobs are where construction companies see the biggest shortages. In fact, between now and 2022 over 1.5 million skilled workers will be needed.
"This is a great way for kids to not only learn about engineering and the different facets of engineering but to get in and test out the different simulators and see what it's really like to move that heavy equipment," said Instructional Coach Dawn Martesi.
The construction industry is also seeing more workers retire than coming into the workforce. About half of the workers are over 45 years old. The number of women employees-at all levels of the industry-is also low.
"I think it's great because a lot of people are fighting for women's rights, so if you do something that a man would typically do, you prove that you can be as strong as them," said eighth-grader Azaryiah Ritter Williams.
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Bucks County middle schoolers build using augmented reality