The area in and around the Farmington Community Library is usually a quiet zone like most other libraries, but on one recent bright summer day, the sounds of loud horns honking and kids laughing could be heard clear across the parking lot.
Over 200 people came out for the “Lunch with Trucks” event on Monday, June 17, sponsored by EJH Construction, Inc., including dozens of kids who were wowed by EJH’s fleet of construction vehicles as well as City of Farmington Police cars and Fire Department trucks.
Several kids took turns being hoisted up by their moms and dads into the driver’s seats of the vehicles, where they posed for pictures and honked horns. For many of them it was a day of discovery and bonding with their parents.
“Any time you can bring parents and families together to have a good time learning things, you’ve got to love it,” said Beth Cooke of EJH Construction, who was on hand to help out greeting parents and kids.
In addition to the many photo opportunities, EJH provided a Lego set as a raffle prize, as well a “book dig” in the scoop of the back hoe vehicle where kids used their skills to search for their favorite books. Fruit snacks and Hot Wheels toy cars were also given out to attendees, who were able to learn about the equipment from EJH representatives and other workers.
The event also provided an opportunity to expose the young people in attendance to the construction industry. According to a 2012 report titled “Construction Industry Workforce Shortages” by the McGraw-Hill company, the construction industry faces a workforce shortage due to many workers leaving the industry during the recent economic downturn. Those departures, left an aging workforce, which highlights the importance of getting more youth involved. The report also said that “green jobs” in particular could lead to a shift in the construction industry for attracting younger workers, especially at the university level.
An informal survey of many of the young attendees at the library event found the trucks to be a popular theme.
Six-year-old Max Garavaglia said he liked the trucks, especially his toys at home. His mother Katie said that possibly working in the construction industry was a “maybe,” and that Max’s plans change week-to-week, with firefighter being the choice last week. Other kids said they were mostly interested in the trucks as well.
“This is a great way to expose kids to the big equipment, and to get them reading,” said Cooke as a family posed with one of EJH’s custom disaster response vehicles.
Children’s librarian Maria Showich-Gallup was happy to see the smiles on so many kids’ faces and to see them learning and enjoying the day with family.
“After all, what kid doesn’t like big trucks?” she said.