CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – If your student has a field trip this week to the Canfield Fairgrounds, they should have plenty to talk about. Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades will showcase a path for a future career. This year, the expo is also for a new group of people.
Fifteen trades have set up displays at the Canfield Fairgrounds for the expo, encouraging 7th through 12th graders to put a tool in their hand and try a trade.
The show runs Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. for students. The general public is invited on Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“Seeing it and doing git are two different things. We’re hoping that the ability to do it sticks with them long-term,” said Gary Hartman, service director for the Builder’s Association.
Roughly 5,000 students are expected at the two-day event. Ten Mahoning County school districts already have 500 students in pre-apprenticeship classes, like building trades math. Skilled trades groups want to carry the momentum through.
“We’re trying to fill some of those gaps that we know we’re going to have in the future. so this is kind of a long-term approach, not an immediate fill but we know that we have to start somewhere,” Hartman said.
New this year, the skilled trades expo will be open to the public on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Last year, 19 sheet metal apprentices were picked up at the expo. It’s one of their largest classes. Even retirees can share just how good a trade career can be.
“This is a great opportunity. You’re going to get an education that you actually don’t have to pay for after. This education is paid for you, as long as you stay in the trade,” said George Kiraly, a retired shop foreman.
The expo is ready to reach students for the future but also the person who’s ready for training now.
Many apprentice classes will start in October and November.
“If it’s something somebody is serious about, and really wants that change, wants to work with their hands, wants to see something at the end of the day that they’ve achieved, this is an opportunity,” Hartman said.
Many of the trade apprenticeships take three to five years. Workers are paid and receive benefits while receiving that training.