Industrial Technology Expo Encouraging Hands-On Careers

ALTOONA, Iowa  --  The Iowa Industrial Technology Exposition has been held at Southeast Polk High School for the past 30 years after being moved from the University of Northern Iowa.

The idea behind the expo is to invite industrial technology students to bring projects for a competition.

"They are judged and they go in different categories," said Brett Rickabaugh, coordinator of the event, who is also the industrial technology teacher at the school. “We can have students that are in sixth grade all the way up to 12th. They may receive a medal, either gold, silver, or bronze.

Prizes also include ten $1,000 scholarships, as well as recognition by some colleges and technical schools seeking students who want to pursue this type of education and career.

“When I learned we are going to an expo project, I’d asked my dad what he wanted because I enjoy making things for my dad because my dad’s played a big role in my life,” said Josh Canida, a sophomore at Southeast Polk. “He hasn’t seen the end result because he’s not home right now, he’s in the military.”

Canida welded what’s known as a “headache rack,” which is a metal piece designed to protect the rear window of a truck from the outside.

“Community comes and they judge their product and if they see a project that's very, very good, they may ask if they are interested in coming to work for the summer,” said Rickabaugh. “I’ve got students started from a project here, they're still working five years later at that same facility.”