Silver Stage High School students received an inside view of the construction trade industry on Friday morning during a Western Nevada College presentation for Careers in Construction Month.
Representatives from the Builders Alliance and Plumber Apprenticeship program participated, and students were presented with information about the networking power of Build Your Future and the advantages of credentialing through the National Center for Construction Education and Research. The 50 students also watched trade industry demonstrations, giving them a well-rounded overview about how a construction trade could provide for their futures.
“Students can see that WNC and our applied programs in construction can prepare them for the workforce, and by partnering with industry and the Builders Alliance, the American Builders and Contractors and local contractors, our students can find work,” said Kevin Edwards, Tech Prep coordinator for WNC.
The Silver Stage students had already expressed an interest in the trade industry before Friday’s demonstrations and presentations.
“Students are either in a furniture cabinet-making or in a construction class, so they already have some exposure to the trades, and we are here to show them that demand has come back in the trades since the recession,” Edwards said.
The students watched demonstrations on 21st Century Machine Tools, plumbing, surveys and one from Occupational Safety and Health Administration on scaffolding.
John Williams, representing the Plumbers Apprenticeship program, recalled how he spent four years in the Navy and a brief time in college before discovering a trade career was best for him. Now, Williams is giving back to a program that helped him find a career which took care of his family.
“I love to do whatever I can to help people learn the trade the right way,” he said.
The Plumber Apprenticeship program allows those accepted into the program to begin work immediately while continuing their education in the trade. To be considered for an interview to join the program, the person needs a high school diploma or GED and a valid driver’s license.
“We hope that we’ve planted the tiniest of seeds, if that is what it is,” Williams said, “and they might recall, ‘I remember when I went to Carson City at WNC, and they were talking about plumbing and guys were getting $80,000 after five years. Wow!’ It’s an option.”
Bob Ford, a new construction instructor at WNC, stressed the importance of students interested in a trade to earn industry credentials provided by NCCER. NCCER verifies a student’s qualifications to a potential employer, indicating that the job applicant has heard about and can perform specific job duties.
“You never lose those credentials,” said Ford, who is a master trainer for NCCER. “Even if they go and do something else, a skills trade is something to have in your back pocket.”
Students lit up during the presentations, according to Ford, when some of the latest trade technology was demonstrated or referenced, including a thermal gun that reads temperatures, a laser tape measure, a camera system for drains and 3-D imaging software and applications.
Ford is hopeful more schools in the area will bring their students to WNC to show students what careers and opportunities are available in construction trades.