Lights, camera, action! These aren’t words we’d usually associate with a laborer’s apprenticeship program. But for four teams of Illinois high school students, acting and producing videos about works zone safety brought the issue to life. One team came from the Edwardsville Training Center, one from the Stanford Center, and two from the Marion Training Center, a team of juniors and a team of seniors, which was the winning team.

“We went to four local high schools that offer first-year apprentice training, and asked the students to tell people in their own words about work zone safety, why it’s important,” said Clayton Taylor, Assistant Director, Midwest Region Laborers Health and Safety Fund. “We wanted to bring the message to the younger generation and get them passionate about it.”

The students learn about work zone safety in class. However, developing the videos from start to finish really made the need for vigilance and awareness in work zones more vivid and real for the students.

As winners, the Marion seniors received breakfast pizzas (by request, from a local Casey’s) and a $25 gift card for each team member. The judging was based on four criteria, and the team of judges included instructors from the local training facility and two high school peer judges.

“The safety of our workers, as well as the general public, is always at the front of our minds. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is that motorists slow down, put down the phone and pay attention in work zones,” said LIUNA Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager John Penn. These kids are doing a great job of spreading the word to their peers about the importance of safety, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Taylor hopes to expand the program in the future to include more high school teams and potentially make it a region-wide event.

Watch each team’s video about work zone safety awareness here (direct links below), and take a listen to the recent Laborer podcast about the competition here.