ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Hundreds of local students got the chance to learn more about potential careers in the trades.

It is part of the “2023 Building and Construction Trads Career Expo.” Project First Rate and the Northwestern Illinois Building Trades Council are hosting.

A dozen registered apprenticeship programs, from welders to plumbers, are on display. There is also hands-on experience for students to try out. Eight hundred students are expected to take part.

Expo organizers said that more and more people are considering a path other than college.

“I just think that more people are realizing there are other options out there after high school, that you can have a good, decent life and have a lot of the benefits that typically come with college, without the debt,” said Paul Nolley, executive director of Project First Rate. “And, people are starting to understand that and realize that, and I hope this event is contributing to that exposure and that knowledge.”

The expo continues through Thursday. Sessions start at 10 a.m. at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Training Center, 4525 Boeing Dr.