Students Explore Careers in the Trades

Students Explore Careers in the Trades

District 228 students from Bremen, Tinley Park, Hillcrest, and Oak Forest high schools attended the Southworks Trades Expo hosted at South Suburban College's Oak Forest Campus. District 228 Career Readiness Director Renee Mack, and District 228 Career and Technical Education Supervisor April Nykaza, planned this day for students which brought together 10 local unions and companies eager to teach students and meet them.

Students alternated between four workshops and a trade floor where they could walk around to different professionals, shake hands, and learn more about what they did for a living and the type of employees they might be looking for. Various sessions included a carpentry demonstration where students could compete against one another in a nail hammering competition that measured technique. Similarly, students participated in a welding demonstration where they were able to try out equipment through a hands-on approach. Both of these workshops were taught by South Suburban College professionals.

Additionally, students had the opportunity to hear about manufacturing from Mr. Otis Bell of the Crown Equipment Corporation. Mr. Bell's own daughter is a freshman at Tinley Park High School. He was excited to speak with students because he says "there is a current need to hire more people in the trades." Crown Equipment hires a variety of trade workers including mechanics, technicians, welders, operators, and manufacturing professionals.

District 228 even brought some of their own professionals to help educate students through an apprenticeship test prep workshop. Mr. George Charnley, a math teacher from Bremen High School and Mr. Gus Yiakos, a physical education teacher from Hillcrest High School had heard from employers that the two skills new graduates seeking a career in the trades were most frequently lacking included math and physical endurance. Devoted to helping their students be accepted into apprenticeship programs, they discussed the importance of having these skills and even provided practice math tests for students with similar problems to those they'd witness during an apprenticeship test.

While college may be appealing to many students, District 228 has found an increased interest in the trades among its population. The District has dedicated itself to providing students as many opportunities as possible to help them get ahead and be prepared for their post-high school careers.