‘Career Skills Event’ at ICUEE 2019 Connects Students to Industry Jobs
AEM and Bridging America’s Gap Partner to Showcase Career Opportunities
MILWAUKEE and LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 27, 2019)
Over the next few years, 20 million skilled employees will retire.
To help address worker shortages, ICUEE 2019-The Demo Expo will host a special careers day at the show for hundreds of high school students to see the many rewarding industry careers available.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), show owner and producer, has partnered with Bridging America’s Gap to bring the organization’s Career Skills Event to the show on closing day, October 3.
ICUEE, the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition will take place October 1-3, 2019 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. ICUEE is the largest and leading event for utilities and utility and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations and trends.
“We work diligently to bring together young people and educators with employers to help build a long-term entry-level employee pipeline,” said V. Brett Melvin, founder and executive director of Bridging America’s Gap. “This first-hand look will be a real treat and a rare opportunity for any young person to see the multitude of career opportunities available to them in the skilled trades.”
“AEM is excited to work with Bridging America’s Gap, and ICUEE and our exhibitors are looking forward to meeting our student attendees and showing them how rewarding an industry career can be,” said Julie Davis, AEM’s director of workforce development. “AEM has worked for many years to help strengthen and expand tomorrow’s industry workforce, and we are dedicated to helping our members, exhibitors and industry segments attract and retain talent.”
During the Career Skills Event at ICUEE 2019, student groups will rotate between half a dozen learning stations, including simulators, for a hands-on look at skilled trade career opportunities.
Industry professionals will also share their personal experiences on how they got involved and what they love about their careers.
ICUEE comes once every two years and is known as The Demo Expo for its equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations. Learn more and register at www.icuee.com.
One of the best ways into the trades is apprenticeship training, which offers advanced technical skills by combining on-the-job experience with intensive technical instruction leading to certification.
Today’s youth tell the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) they are open to skilled trades careers in the construction and energy sectors. They value hands-on work and the contribution tradespeople make to the economy. Parents tell us they want to find ways to support their children’s ambitions, seeking more information about the right high school courses to take and the job opportunities available to apprentices.
“Parents and youth are concerned these occupations are physically demanding, reflecting a limited awareness of technologies used to support today’s tradespeople, particularly in the construction sector.”
Yet, there are common myths and misperceptions about the skilled trades. For example, parents and youth are concerned these occupations are physically demanding, reflecting a limited awareness of technologies used to support today’s tradespeople, particularly in the construction sector. Here are five reasons to pursue a career in construction:
1. Diverse job opportunities: The growing demand for skilled workers continues to increase and diverse jobs in the construction industry are available across Canada in both urban and rural areas.
2. Earn as you learn: As an apprentice, you can start earning money as soon as you complete high school. Apprentices earn an increasing proportion of journeyperson wages while progressing toward certification.
3. Salaries are lucrative: Construction workers earn more than the average Canadian, with an average annual salary of $61,762, according to StatsCan. According to Canadian Business Magazine, construction workers had an average pay increase of six percent last year — nearly double the national average.
4. Build a meaningful career: According to the National Research Council of Canada, construction is a key indicator of economic strength as a $171-billion industry employing 1.24 million people. Canada’s energy sector, a destination for tradespeople and a major construction hub, invested $25-billion in Canada’s clean-energy sector over the past five years and increased employment by 37 percent, according to The Globe and Mail.
Nolee Anderson, founder of Joist and a professional carpenter, is dedicated to educating young women of the various career paths available to them through a skilled trade. Joist was created to offer young girls and women the exposure, excitement and encouragement to cultivate practical skills in a safe environment.
Based on a study conducted by Wolverine (known for making durable work boots for more than 135 years), only nine percent of high school students plan on pursuing the skilled trades profession, and 80% of construction firms state they are having trouble finding qualified workers. It’s imperative that mentorships, advocacies and programs like Anderson’s are put in place to help fill America’s skill gap. One of Anderson’s initiatives was as a contributing founder to GRIT (Girls Representing in Trades), hands-on workshops in the skilled trades, from construction and electrical to welding and auto mechanics serving middle and high school girls and non-binary and gender-diverse youth.
“It was set up to give high school girls an opportunity to have a really safe space to try out trades skills,” Anderson expresses, “and learn about them in a comfortable setting where they were not necessarily under the microscope of a wood shop class. It was to give them a space where they could just find out opportunities about trades work that they probably wouldn’t find anywhere else; that no one else would bring to them and encourage them to do it…Our goal was to tell girls that the trades were an awesome option, a profitable option and a satisfying one, too.” In addition to the basic trades skills, the organization just recently added a butchery class.
Initially, Anderson took a gap year between graduating high school and attending college. She was unsure of what she wanted to study. During that time, she decided she was going to go to art school to become an art teacher because that seemed like the most practical career path. However, she quickly realized she would not excel in that environment. Eventually, she enrolled in a carpentry and sustainable construction program. At the time, that particular program had three females in it. Anderson graduated in two years with a multitude of certificates and on-the-job training experience.
“I found myself in school a lot of the time when I was the only female on a certain project or in the shop during class being the first person to volunteer to do a task,” she smiles. “I knew if I was going to do it wrong, and if I was going to fail, it wasn’t because I saw them [her classmates] do it 16 times beforehand; then I’d be the girl who got up there and failed. I knew everyone in this classroom is afraid to try this because they’ve never done it before, and they’re afraid to fail. If I just get the failing out of the way, then we’re all going to be way better at this.”
In 2018, Anderson signed with Wolverine as part of Team Wolverine under its Project Bootstrap. Originally, the program visited job sites and trade schools, donating work boots to those who build America’s houses, roads and valuable infrastructure. The addition of Team Wolverine is to support individuals that personify the drive, grit and work ethic of those in the trades to help close the skills gap.
Although more women are entering the trade skill workforce, it is still often a challenge being the only woman in the room. Anderson continuously works on evolving her confidence. “I find myself in my head forgiving myself a lot of the time for being female and being in my position,” she humbly shares. “I’m like ‘you know, it’s okay that I’m the only me in the shop today. I just have to be okay with it.’” She is reconditioning her mindset from the notion that she has to know everything about the current project she’s working on to accepting that it’s ok if she doesn’t know everything.
As Anderson’s initiatives continuously gain traction, she shares three essential steps for young women looking to transition into the trades:
Be flexible. Always be ready to divert from the plan but also understand that that’s okay. Harping over what should have happened will not propel you forward.
Ask questions. It’s ok not to know something. At some point, everyone starts from square one. The more you know, the easier it will be to learn the trade.
Prepare for the failure. Everyone fails at least once. It’s inevitable. Learning how to pick yourself up and move forward is critical for success.
“My goal,” Anderson concludes, “is to keep generations that are following me from having to bear this trailblazer title. I just want to make sure that I make enough and take up enough room in any place that I can right now so that the girls following me don’t have to feel like they have the spotlight on them all the time. I want more tradeswomen to feel comfortable and to not think twice about being who they are and being able to hold these positions.”