Rochester-area students learn about working with their hands

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From advanced manufacturing and skilled trades to automotive technology, area high school students had it all at their fingertips Tuesday.

It was part of the second annual ROC With Your Hands, which introduces students in grades seven through 12 to different careers. It was held at the Rochester Community Sports Complex.

“I know a lot of high school students aren’t exposed to these types of jobs and in the future, it could be difficult to fill them, so I’m happy that ROC With Your Hands is exposing high school students to these opportunities,” said Rush-Henrietta High School sophomore Drew Keller.

With over 700 vendors, organizers said this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students. About 1,300 participated in hands-on activities, allowing them a glimpse into different livelihoods.

“Many of the students never even get exposed to what these careers are,” said Rochester Technology and Manufacturing Association Executive Director Robert Coyne. “The manufacturing over the last 20 years declined and so a lot of their parents and even aunts and uncles and schools don’t even really understand all the different careers that are right here in the Finger Lakes and Greater Rochester area.”

Coyne said many of the careers don’t require a college degree.

“Our whole goal is that they have enough information that, as they go through their high school career, that they have a choice. College is a great choice, the military is a choice, but also advanced manufacturing and working with your hands is a choice, as well.”

The goal is showing students that they can stay local, land a great-paying job, and have a successful career.

“I like how we get to experience all the different setups and all the different things we get to do and not everybody would get this opportunity,” said Honeoye Falls-Lima junior Eli Cleveland. “So you really have to take it once you get the chance. I like how, at school ,you always get the choice to do what you want. Not every school would give you that.”