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Southern Illinois students show growing interest in paid training for skilled trades

Interest in learning about and training for a career in one or more of the skilled trades which support the construction industry drew more than 1,600 Southern Illinois high school students to regional Construction Careers Expos in Belleville and DuQuoin.

The young women and men said they were attracted by the good pay and the paid apprenticeship training as well as the constant challenge of developing new skills, according to Donna Richter, chief executive officer of the Southern Illinois Builders Association, which produced the Expos.

“Today’s students also find the technology being developed to enhance construction especially exciting and interesting,” Richter added. “That technology includes GPS-guided equipment, drone scanning, robotics and three-dimensional modeling and planning.”

At the Expos, skilled trades journeymen from various Union locals demonstrate their skills, invite the students to try their hand at the 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

Richter stressed the success of the program was due to the cooperation and support of six county offices of education and the many high schools plus the Union locals and the individual apprenticeship program directors and journeymen instructors.

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

Information about the various skilled trades and their apprenticeships is at www.siba-agc.org/VideoLinks.

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