By: Sergio Valdes
Last Updated: November 19, 2019

“Don’t discount the trades for your kids, broaden their horizons and opportunities.”

Students from all over Northwest Indiana gathered at the Lake County Fairgrounds to participate in the 3rd Annual Construction and Skilled Trades Day on November 19. This was a collaboration between the Center of Workforce Innovations, Construction Advancement Foundation, Northwest Indiana Workforce Board, Indiana Plan for Equal Employment, and We Build Northwest Indiana.

The purpose of this event was to introduce local students from 27 different high schools and career programs to career opportunities in union, building, and construction trades.

“An event like this exposes young men and women to many different types of careers,” said Roland Hunter, IBEW Local 531 Apprenticeship Director. “We encourage the students to share around the information they receive here so that other people can see what we are about and the work we do.”


The event offered a vast array of mock hands-on activities including welding, building walls, fitting pipes, and virtual reality simulations. With 16 different work stations in total, visitors engaged with both trained veterans in the business and current apprentices from 19 organizations.

“We’re trying to let students know that there are alternative career paths out there aside from academia,” said Kevin Comerford, Director of Professional Development at the Construction Advancement Foundation. “We are always looking for new talent to make a career in these fields. It’s good to see the students interact with the trades and have fun at this event.”

In addition to the activities, the Construction and Skilled Trades Day was also a gateway for students to learn more and successfully apply for apprenticeships, so that they may be well-equipped and ready for their future careers.

“We need people to build for tomorrow,” said Dennis Hahney, President of the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council. “Experience and interactivity is how my generation got into these careers. With this event, the young men and women of today can find their way into the trades and become the backbone of society for the future.”

“This event completely exceeded my expectations,” said Barbara Grimsgard, Communications Manager of the Center of Workforce Innovations and for the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board. “Both the students and parents seemed satisfied and content with what was demonstrated here today, and having those parents thank us for offering their children another path was so gratifying.”

To learn more about the careers showcased and how to apply for an apprenticeship, please visit www.WeBuildNWI.com.

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