JOPLIN, Mo. — More than 400 local high school students had the chance to learn first-hand from professionals what it’s like working in the trades.

The Build My Future job fair was back at the College Heights Athletic Complex Thursday, giving students from seven school districts across southwest Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma a chance to connect with representatives from more than 30 local businesses.

Students got to hammer nails and take a ride up in lifts, experiencing some of the things they might be doing every day after high school.

The fair typically occurs in the spring, but according to event organizers, this time of year allowed even more businesses to participate, giving students additional opportunities.

“They’re providing demos, hands-on demonstrations so the students can learn a little bit about what that trade is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be hammering nails, which I can hear in the background,” said Sherri Rhuems, Event Organizer.

“This really allows for like kids who don’t know what they want to do but like hands-on work, to see what hands-on work jobs they have and the opportunities,” said Robert Ball, Neosho Senior.

The next Build My Future job fair will be in the spring, helping those interested in pursuing a career in the medical field make connections.