From building walls, to virtual welding, more than 1,300 students from around the region participated in hands-on demonstrations for the 2nd Annual Construction & Skilled Trades Day.
For many, the decision of what to do after high school can be challenging. Especially for those who don’t necessarily want to go to college.
The collaboration with Center of Workforce Innovation, Northwest Indiana Workforce Board and Indiana Plan, brought more than a dozen local trades and journeymen who created exhibits to showcase the various career paths available in Northwest Indiana.
“There’s stuff here I’m actually interested in,” Epps added. “This is showing me what career opportunities are available in the area.”
“Not everybody is geared for college so we’re showing them another career path," said Kevin Comerford, the Director of Professional Development at the Construction Advancement of Northwest Indiana.
“The average wage package is at about $67/hour per trade including retirement packages and benefits/ This just shows how the trades here today offer great paying jobs that don’t require a college degree,” Comerford added.
Sandra Alvarez from the Employer Engagement at the Center of Workforce Innovation mentioned that today was all about removing the perception that you either go to college or you work with your hands.
“We want to ensure each student, schools, and counselors understand what amazing career paths outside of college are available,” Alvarez added.
“It’s difficult to make sure everyone knows about all the opportunities available,” Roman Bronson, NWI Area Director said.
Bronson mentioned options available, such as debt-free education applicants can receive paid for by the previous apprentice or journeyman.
“When you start the apprenticeship, you start at around between $11-$14 an hour and as you hit benchmarks you get rises. By the end of it, such as myself, I was at $40 an hour when I finished,” Bronson added.
“It’s hard work but if you’re willing to use your mind, apply yourself and make it happen, it’s a great opportunity for yourself,” said Bronson.
“What I love the most about this is seeing them stand in line ready to go for these different trades, what they’re seeing in front of them is an apprentice that looks like them,” Alvarez said. “Those apprentices are actually in the programs training and they’re talking to the students face-to-face, and you can see their excitement.”
For more information on the trades and how to apply for an apprenticeship, visit www.WeBuildNWI.com.