Rockford trade expo opens doors for local students

Made in the Stateline

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford area construction trades want local students to know there are rewarding opportunities for people with the right skills.

The Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council puts on the expo every year.

Members of local unions attend to answer questions and give students a quick look at what life on the job might be like.

Todd Whitlock, a representative for the Sheet Metal Workers Union, says the expo sends an important message to local teens.

“We want them to know college isn’t the only alternative for a high school student after they graduate.” Whitlock explained. “They can go to college or they can attend a trade school and have a great career, be able to support their family, have great benefits, be able to retire someday.”

Charles Barrett of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers shared similar sentiments. “This is a great opportunity for someone who doesn’t want to go to college or may not have the opportunity, because they can learn as they get paid,” he said.

The event can open doors for students they never knew existed.

Local student Jesus Meraz was excited for the opportunity. “It’s amazing all this because you get to realize more things that you didn’t know before, like how much they pay as you progress, how you begin, what requirements you need as you try to apply for the place you like,” he added.

The event, which takes place February 11th – 14th through at the Carpenter’s Training Center, at 1117 Tebala Blvd., isn’t only for students, as the public is also invited.

In the last decade, over 10,000 people have participated.

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