SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – Central Texas high school students will get a hands-on experience in the world of construction thanks to a non-profit on Thursday.

The Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF) will hold its San Antonio / Austin Trades Day event at the Texas State University Events Center on Charles Austin Drive from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

According to CIEF, more than 375 students from 17 area high schools will take part in activities including operating a virtual excavator and loader to learning how to install flooring.

18 construction companies will take part, CIEF said.

“It’s important to show these students that someone who looks like them and has had a similar life journey can be successful in a career in the trades,” said Alison Satt, Vice President and Division Manager at Swinerton, one of those companies. “More importantly, it provides students with the resources and skills to be successful in the workforce immediately after graduation. By creating and supporting programs that raise awareness and offer skills development, together, we can make a difference.”

According to CIEF, one apprentice begins work for every five journey-level trade professionals who retires. It said that makes construction an in-demand and lucrative post-high school career option.

“Trades Day shows what is possible when industry meets the classroom, providing students with the chance to learn about all of their professional possibilities,” said CIEF Program Director Brittany Albaugh in the statement.

CIEF said the San Antonio/Austin Trades Days is one of 12 career explorations planned for 2023. In the last year, CIEF hosted seven Trades Days across Texas and California, serving nearly 7,200 students.