Warren middle schoolers learning about skilled trades at a young age

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Welders, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and professionals in other disciplines are hoping to reach kids as soon as they start thinking about what their futures might hold

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – They may not be in high school just yet, but Warren sixth graders are already learning what could be waiting for them after graduation.

On Tuesday, students in the city school district had a chance to see the career options they might have one day.

“We are so in need of trades in the Valley. Not just the Valley, but in the United States,” said Jill Mayfield, a career counselor at the Mahoning County Educational Service Center. “My understanding is that in the next three to five years, we will be down a million workers in the trades.”

The Mini Trade Expo brought in professionals from many disciplines. Students got to meet welders, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and others who have chosen a career in the trades.

Mayfield said it is never too early to show students what options are available to them.

“Trades have always told us, since we’ve been working with them, that they want to get to the kids at middle school age because that’s when they’re starting to think about things and think about their futures.”

The younger kids also got to meet some of the high school students currently studying to work in a trade field themselves.

Warren Harding shop teacher Zach Cowher said it’s critical students know their choices are not limited to one path.

“At the very least, there are two different ways they can go. They can decide that they like to work with their hands or they don’t because college isn’t for everybody.”

As for the kids, they enjoyed using their hands Tuesday to discover what it is these workers do every day. It had some of them thinking trades might be for them, too.

“Yeah, I think maybe the welding one,” Elaina Buydos said.

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