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1,200 students to experience skilled trades at Construction Careers Expo

More than 1,200 students representing 26 Southwestern Illinois high schools will explore fully paid job-training apprenticeships in the skilled trades at a Construction Careers Expo Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 18, 19, and 20, 2022, at Belleville’s Belle-Clair Fairgrounds.

Each student will have the opportunity for a hands-on learning experience to explore the various trades with a range of actual, virtual and simulated activities.

Parents and others are invited to attend the Expo from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free of charge.

Skilled trades journeymen from various Union locals will demonstrate their skills and discuss their apprenticeship programs. Those unions include boilermakers, bricklayers, carpenters, cement masons, electricians, iron workers, laborers, operating engineers, painters, plumbers & pipefitters, steamfitters and sheet metal workers.

Southern Illinois Builders Association CEO Donna Richter, who produces Expo, says student interest in the skilled trades is much greater than just two years ago. “Young women and men are drawn because of good pay and paid training as well as the constant challenge of developing new construction skills. The young people also find the technology being developed to enhance construction especially exciting. The technology includes GPS-guided equipment, drone scanning, robotics and three-dimensional modeling and planning.”

Because of a shortage of trained workers in Southern Illinois construction-related jobs, including the skilled trades, the Southern Illinois Builders Association is producing the Careers Expos in conjunction with the Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP).

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