LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – WKBN was given a preview Wednesday at what will eventually be an electric-generation plant in Trumbull County, which is expected to bring good-paying jobs for hundreds of local workers.

With so many old coal-fired power plants being retired because of tough environmental regulations, this part of eastern Ohio is already seeing a number of new facilities being built to replace them.

The Lordstown Energy Center looks completely different from when ground was first broken six months ago. Now, the facility has dozens of people hauling and pouring concrete, erecting huge cranes and moving steal beams and other equipment into place.

Leaders with Western Reserve Building Trades say this is really just the beginning of construction at this site.

“Currently, there’s approximately 300 tradespeople covering all 15 crafts of the building trades. At peak in 2017, they’re gonna ramp up to around 500, maybe 550,” said Rocky DiGennaro, Jr.

The project is expected to be online by summer of 2018, but this is just for phase-one of this project. Union leaders say there is already talk of a second and maybe even a third phase.

Ultimately, the generating plant will provide enough electricity to light and heat 800,000 homes, and that comes in addition to similar plants either under construction now or on the drawing board in Wellsville, Carrolton and other places in eastern Ohio — all looking to take advantage of the cheap natural gas that’s underneath.

While the construction work is providing jobs for trade workers around the region, it’s also creating a demand for new, qualified employees.

“Obviously, they need math skills and all the STEM stuff that you hear all the time, as well as they need a driver’s license so they can get to work, and they have to pass a drug test, and these are challenges that all the trades are experiencing,” DiGennaro said.

Carlton Ingram, business representative of Operating Engineers Local 66, said the union has apprenticeship programs and continues to expand. The union is currently taking applications for new members through December 16.

For information on available jobs in the building trades, go to the Western Reserve Building Trades Council’s website or the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of the Valley’s website.