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Career fair hopes to attract younger crowd for trades

Apply for apprenticeships at event

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The Northwest Ohio Building Trades Council will have representatives from all 18 unions at a career fair to discuss employment opportunities.

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The Northwest Ohio Building Trades Council will hold a career fair later this month in Toledo’s central city as part of an outreach aimed at encouraging more people to consider pursuing careers as welders, plumbers, electricians, and other related trades.

Shaun Enright, the council’s executive secretary and business manager, said there are good job prospects in many building trade jobs, but the field is often overlooked by students who are wrapping up high school and considering their next step.

“I think that’s partially our fault,” he said. “In the past we haven’t done a good job of educating the public, or future employees for that matter, about who we are.”

The Northwest Ohio Building Trades Council covers 18 local unions ranging from sheet metal workers to carpenters. Representatives from all 18 unions will be on hand at the fair to discuss their work, what qualifications are needed, and how one goes about applying for an apprenticeship.

The career fair is being held in partnership with Toledo City Councilman Tyrone Riley at the Bethlehem Community Center, 1430 W. Bancroft St. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 26.

Officials say it is aimed predominantly at junior high and high school students, though it’s open to anyone.

Mr. Enright said the trades need to do a better job of attracting young people.

“A lot of our tradesmen came from Macomber. We don’t have Macomber right now, and we’re sort of feeling the hurt with that,” he said.

Toledo Public Schools closed Macomber Vocational High School in 1991. The district doesn’t currently operate a traditional vocational school in Toledo, though individual schools do have some vocational programs. Mr. Enright said the council would like to develop some sort of partnership with TPS to reach students earlier.

“There’s just some people who aren’t cut out for college. They could still have a great career and opportunities with us,” he said.

In addition to getting information on the various careers, attendees will be able to apply for apprenticeship programs. Each union has its own apprenticeship program and qualifications vary; however, Mr. Enright said applicants need to be able to pass a drug test. Most require at least a year of algebra.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.

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