College isn’t for everybody.
These days, teachers and guidance counselors are increasingly identifying students best suited for apprenticeships and careers in the trades. Students can land good paying jobs without the burden of student debt — and they get to work with their hands in an industry that has high demand for jobs.
To encourage young people to go into the trades, IBEW Local 520 recruiters hosted an educational table at Youth Career Day: Networking & Job Fair at the Austin Central Library on Nov. 9, 2021.
Central Texas students from numerous high schools networked with trade professionals in high demand industries to learn about good paying, high growth careers.
“Probably about 200 kids stopped by our table to get more information about our apprenticeship program,” said Local 520 Vice-President and Apprentice Recruiter Marc Pendleton. “I saw many of the students from the schools I visit regularly. It’s great to drill the value of apprenticeships in their minds. They always have questions they didn’t ask the first time. The ones who really want to become electricians are very excited.”
SaulPaul, a rapper from Houston and member of the Make It Movement, emceed the event. The Make It Movement is a community initiative to connect young people with opportunities for skilled, high paying careers.
“He talked with kids about the importance of showing up on time, and made some cats do the Macarena,” Pendleton said. “It was pretty cool.”
Apprentice recruiting goes remote
In addition to job fairs, high school career days and the Fort Hood Mega Career Fair in September 2021, Pendleton is also recruiting students remotely over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They work pretty well, and we see anywhere from 20 to 200 applicants,” Pendleton said. “But you miss out on the handshakes and one-on-one interactions you get in person. I don’t think they are as good as meeting students face to face. But I tell these young people that if they arrive 15 minutes early and show up every day, you will make it as an electrician.”