Building Trades Career Expo Starts Tuesday

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The local construction industry is still recovering after the recession and contractors say work continues to be hard to come by. Yet, local tradesmen says despite this, now is the time for Rockford kids to pick up a trade.

Jaimie Dainty is learning to paint and says now is the time for him to go into the trades, three years after graduating high school.

“A lot of reality checks, I realized I have to grow up and do things that I couldn’t do.”

Dainty is one of hundreds who will learn all about construction work this week at this year’s building trades career expo, where mostly students will learn about construction work this week at this year’s Building Trades Career Expo where mostly students will get a first hand look at the construction industry.

“We’ve got an aging workforce like a lot of industries so there are opportunities there,” said Brad Long with the Northern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council.

Tyler Hillman is an electrician and says part of the reason kids aren’t going into the trades is because they aren’t as aware of the educational opportunities through apprenticeship programs.

“They think its McDonald’s or college with this, it’s a fourth opportunity to learn a skill, get a good living wage, and at no out of pocket expense other than their books and their time,” said Tyler Hillman with the Northern Illinois Electrical Training Center.

John Penney is a painter and says even though it’s important to recruit the next generation of tradesmen, it might be tough for them to find work right away.

“Whenever things get tough, there’s always a brighter side and things are going to get better,” says Penney.

Organizers say each year, the expo gets bigger as more students are showing interest in careers in construction.

The expo officially kicks off tomorrow and goes through Thursday. Most of those attending will be District 205 students.

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