High school students learn about ‘building’ a career in construction

The number of construction jobs in the U.P. is projected to grow at a rate higher than the rest of the state. In fact, all U.P. jobs in the industrial trades are expected to outpace the rest of the state when it comes to percentage of job growth over the next two years.  That has created a unique relationship between the building trades, schools and other agencies.

Most apprenticeship training programs have the win-win of free tuition and allow apprentices to earn money while they are learning. Being accepted into a certified apprenticeship program, students receive classroom training from instructors with practical experience, and the average apprentice earns about $12 an hour – plus benefits during on-the-job training. Apprenticeship training lasts three to five years, depending on the trade.

The 2013 Industrial Trades Career Day (ITCD) Thursday in the Ruth Butler Building located at the U.P. State Fairgrounds will give potential applicants a look at ‘building’ as an option for a career choice. The Industrial Trades Career Day provides a hands-on opportunity for high school students to experience the construction industry and various careers it offers.

Students will be able to participate in demonstrations of bricklaying, concrete finishing, welding, carpentry, iron working, and other trades.  The students will see a ‘real world’ connection to classroom experiences in calculus, mechanics or mathematics…and to apply them in building, business or blueprints.

The Industrial Trades Career Day is a cooperative effort between partnering organizations such as the Upper Peninsula Construction Council, Delta-Schoolcraft ISD, Upper Peninsula Construction and Skilled Trades Regional Skills Alliance, Michigan Works! The Job Force Board, local trades, and support from area schools.

The inaugural Industrial Trades Career Day (ITCD) took place in October of 2006 at the NewPage Facility in Escanaba with an audience of 212 Delta and Schoolcraft County students. The following ITCD took place in 2008 and was held in Marquette for Marquette and Alger schools and saw over 200 students participate with over 19 trades displayed. In 2010, the ITCD was held at the Mountain View Ice Arena in Iron Mountain and provided over 400 Dickinson and Iron County High School students, along with the neighboring schools of Florence and Niagara, an opportunity to explore career opportunities within the trades.

“Due to retirements and job growth in the industry, we will be experiencing a manpower shortage,” commented Tony Retaskie, Executive Director of the Upper Peninsula Construction Council, and Michigan Works! Job Force Board member. “It is important for us to spread the word to students across the Upper Peninsula that there are high-paying jobs right here in the U.P.”