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More than 4,500 Arizona high school students gathered at the Arizona Army National Guard's Papago site for Arizona Construction Career Days this past Wednesday. The event, which began in 2002, attracted 70 exhibitors who provided hands-on building activities and learning opportunities to high school juniors and seniors in an effort to spark interest in construction careers.

The event offered welding activities, a hammer-and-nail–driving competition, virtual-reality simulations, and other opportunities for students to learn about careers in the trades, The Arizona Republic reports.

For Anthony Piña, 16, the career day was an opportunity to network and learn about the apprenticeship programs available after high school. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was an electrician, he said.

"One of the earliest memories I have of him was of him taking me to work and helping him out with those side jobs that he did on his own," Piña said. "So, ever since I was a kid, I've been interested and been involved in the electrical field."

He takes electrical wiring classes at Metro Tech, a school in the Phoenix Union High School District, and he heard about the career day from his teacher. He found at least two companies that he was interested in from the career day event, he said.

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