May 8, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, VA., May 8, 2018 ( – Bridging America’s Gap (BAG) hosted 2 Career Skills Events (CSE) last month in partnership with SkillsUSA Indiana and SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Conferences. BAG provided the future of skilled trade workforce with resources, to include options after graduation.

These CSE’s provided student competitors exposure to potential employers through Learning Stations with Industry Champions providing real life experiences on how they got into the skilled trade industries, what their career paths have been as well as tips on how to prepare for job interviews and land their first job. BAG provided job description one-pagers for each Learning Station highlighting job duties, potential salary, required education, training and certifications. In addition, the students and their advisors spent time with Skills Gap Solution Supporters, where the students tested their skills on welding and construction equipment simulators and interacted with representatives and recruiters from local training schools and skilled trade employers.

Many students indicated that the Learning Stations opened their eyes to career possibilities they otherwise may not have considered. Michael, competing in Information Technology from Anthis Career Academy in Fort Wayne, IN, shared that his favorite Learning Station was Diesel Mechanics, hosted by Brett Lanpher with TravelCenters of America. Michael said he never realized how many computers are in a semi (truck) and how much money you can make working in a repair shop.

Kelly Fink, Director, Strategic Communications & Outreach for BAG says, “many students were shy about approaching our sponsors, I felt my main goal was to help the kids feel at ease and to earn their trust. Once I asked them about their passion and what they were competing in during the SkillsUSA competitions, they opened up and I was able to help guide them through our event. One young man was the exception and caught my eye. I watched Gabriel from Lake Geneva Badger High School in Wisconsin participate in every Learning Station and visit all the Skills Gap Solution Supporters on his own, without guidance from an advisor. When I asked if he thought this experience was valuable, he smiled and said, absolutely. Gabriel has a passion for cars and has a dream to own his own shop someday. The Zimbrick Chevrolet Learning Station Champions told him to follow his dreams, Gabriel said that it’s very comforting to know people out there believe.

One of the Industry Champions for manufacturing, Tamara Bradley, Quality Manager with E.K. Machine Co., Inc. in Fall River, WI who started as a brake press operator 15 years ago and worked her way up in the company shared, “speaking with kids today was a great experience, providing the message to them that manufacturing has a lot of great career options. They don’t have to go to college right out of high school, they can get into the workforce right away, which provides a lot of options with tuition reimbursement and on the job training. Getting an entry level position right out of school in manufacturing is a good first step in starting a career.”

“Our goal and objective in hosting Career Skills Events is to help employers develop long-term solutions to find qualified workers and to provide resources to the next generation of skilled workers so they can achieve their career dreams. Understanding less than 25% of businesses have a true relationship with schools, our mission is to help bridge the gap that exist between educators and employers. I believe the collaboration we offer through our Career Skills Events makes a difference.” shared Brett Melvin, Executive Director, Bridging America’s Gap.

These Career Skills Events cannot be successful without the support of local businesses, unions and trade schools. BAG would like to thank these sponsors: Associated Training Services, Brooks Tractor, E.K. Machine Co., Inc., Fabick Cat, IUOE 139, J. Everett Light Career Center, Major Tool & Machine, National Transportation Center, TalentLynk, TravelCenters of America and Zimbrick Chevrolet.

Headquartered in Alexandria VA, Bridging America’s Gap is set up as a 501(c)3 provider of workforce & skills gap solutions that bring educators, students, businesses and industries together. The skills gap is one of America’s most challenging business dilemmas and Bridging America’s Gaps’ highly specialized solutions, which build relationships between all stakeholders, is critical to the success of closing the skills gap and can make all the difference between success and failure. For more information, contact [email protected].

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

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