More than 600 middle and high school students stepped off their buses, picked up their new bright green backpacks and spent the morning experiencing the construction trades with hands-on demonstrations, exhibits and meeting with area colleges and apprenticeship programs at the first ever Northern Nevada Construction Career Day held at the Livestock Event Center in Reno on Tuesday.
Students were bussed in from Washoe, Lyon and Douglas and Carson City Counties. Students tried their hands at pipefitting, electrical circuitry boards, cement work, wallpapering and painting, and virtual reality welding.
Truckee Meadows Community and Western Nevada Colleges spoke with students about their varied Career and Technical Education offerings, and various trade associations discussed apprenticeship programs.
“Craft trades will add more than 92,000 jobs in Nevada by 2019,” Aaron West, chief executive officer for Nevada Builders Alliance, said, citing statistics from BuildYourFuture.org. “Construction Career Day is designed to show students how many different career paths the construction industry offers.”
Exhibitors at the event represented craft professions including electricians, land surveyors, general contractors, paint and wallpaper, cement masons and plumbers and pipefitters. Representatives from Washoe County Signature Academies and CTE, Western Nevada College and Truckee Meadows Community College provided information on career and technical education opportunities for both students and job seekers during the afternoon job fair. Trade associations were also on hand to discuss apprenticeship programs.
West said in Northern Nevada, nearly half of all skilled tradespeople are over the age of 45, and over 20 percent are over age 55. As these workers retire out of the system, it will become even harder to find new workers to take their places.
“It’s imperative for young people to be aware of lucrative careers that pay a family sustaining wage in the trades,” he said. “We are grateful to our educational partners for answering Governor Sandoval’s call to build the new Nevada through career and technical education.”
The event was sponsored by The Nevada Construction Collaborative, comprised of Nevada Builders Alliance, The Associated General Contractors of America, Builders Association of Northern Nevada and the Western Apprenticeship Coordinators Association.