More than 5,000 students who entered the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia’s (CEFGA) CareerExpo and SkillsUSA competition got some unusual souvenirs – and hands-on construction experience they won’t forget.

Inside the Georgia International Convention Center, students found themselves in a simulated construction site where they had a chance to operate heavy equipment and participate in a variety of skilled trades – all under the supervision of employees from three Georgia-area OSHA offices.

William Fulcher, director of the Atlanta-East area office, said the event was an effort to expose future construction workers to a culture of safety.

“OSHA is here because with half of the construction workforce nearing retirement age, it is important that this next generation carry with them a culture of safety from day one as they move from the classroom to work,” he said.

And the souvenirs? CEFGA arranged for each student to receive a hardhat and safety glasses, along with a safety orientation session as part of an experience that simulated the construction of a real Georgia high school.