Career Convos - The AED Foundation tackles the workforce shortage by interviewing the next generation.

CED Magazine recently sat down with Legacy High School student Sharieff Jackson to discuss his views on the industry and what role he will play in the future. Sharieff visited The AED Foundation booth at CONEXPO-CON/AGG to learn more about the equipment industry.

Here is his Career Convo with The AED Foundation.

CED: What do you think about the technology and virtual reality tools that are being produced for the industry and school programs?

 Sharieff: I think it’s really great. You know, it gives us kids nowadays opportunities to experience a lot of different things, especially considering the technology that we have now, it’s really advanced, and if kids like me decide to get involved with welding or manufacturing or wiring, I have a huge advantage in creating different types of opportunities. Technology experience is especially important for kids like me who are considering going to a trade school and interested in acquiring new skills.

CED: Do you know much about the heavy equipment industry?

Sharieff: That’s a great question. And personally, I don’t know much yet, but I’ve heard about it. And because I’ve seen people do it, I was really inspired by them. So yeah, that’s why I’m here today.

CED: What would you tell your classmates about what you have learned about the equipment industry and the technology that is involved in the open positions?

Sharieff: That’s easy for me. Now, when it comes down to experience with this type of technology, I really think it’s great. I love it. Personally, the welding that we do now, in our high school classes, I think it’s huge for me, especially because I didn’t want to get into it before because I’m not the type of person to try and do new things. My mom suggested branching out to try different types of things. But then I was like, no, I was being one of those kids who were lazy. And you know, seeing what The AED Foundation has shown me here and stuff like that gave me a lot of different types of opportunities, you know, inspired me to try and test out the virtual technology and the great stuff that comes with it. In my current courses, I’m learning how to do MIG welding. I’m also doing forklift training that’s coming up soon too. So I think these are all types of great experiences.

CED: A lot of students like you don’t really know about some of the career opportunities available in the equipment industry, primarily in the technician position. What do you think about these opportunities?

Sharieff: We just got to learn about the opportunities that you guys have to offer so far, the job opportunities, the scholarships that are offered, the money that we could be making when we graduate from a technical program, and I think it’s a really great opportunity that you guys provide, and it’s really cool in my opinion, and on top of that we have a lot to gain because of the training and job opportunities; even the salaries are huge. My teacher, Mr. Reese, is one of those teachers who inspired me to get into this type of field.

CED: What do you like about the programs that are offered in your technical high school program versus the typical standard high school courses?

Sharieff: See, that’s the thing right there: One, these programs are an elective for me; two, the programs that they offer for technical courses are more easy for me to do because I love math and other courses of that nature, so I feel like I was just made for this industry. I enjoy these topics and enjoy the personal experiences I have in these types of courses. But in terms of other students, if they like math or solving things or even getting their hands involved on different projects, then I would say yes, this industry is a great opportunity for you.

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