Students get their hands on heavy machinery at Apprenticeship and Trades Fair

On Friday, September 22nd, roughly 750 high school juniors from at least 11 schools in SW Washington will take part in the 7th annual Apprenticeship and Trades Fair at the Cowlitz County Expo Center. The Expo Center will be filled with Bobcats, backhoes and other heavy machinery and professional equipment so students not only get to learn about job opportunities, but they also get to try them on for size.

Nearly 20 organizations representing emergency response, government agencies, unions, and the trades will be present, all with the goal of planting a seed of interest in potential future employees.

“This event is a team effort between Career and Technical Education instructors and local area industry professionals. Together, we’ve created a space for students to get hands-on exposure to career opportunities that lead to living-wage jobs,” said Melissa Boudreau, CTE Director for Kelso High School.

In addition to staff at Kelso High School, the Washington and Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers is a key partner in organizing industry attendees. Millennium Bulk donates funds each year, and JHKelly previously donated the safety equipment for the event, which includes 1,000 hard hats, vests and safety glasses.

“So many of our students don’t realize the amazing opportunities that are out there for them,” said Paul Huddleston, CTE Director at Woodland High School. “This event gives them a chance to get a hands-on look at so many different career paths all in one place on one day. The response from our kids last year was extremely positive, and I believe every student should attend this event–regardless of their chosen pathway.”

The Appreticeship and Trades Fair happens on Friday, September 22nd, at the Cowlitz County Expo Center (1900 7th Ave, Longview, WA) in two sessions: one from 9:00 am to 11:00 am, and the other from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

Industry Attendees:
* City of Longview Water Department
* City of Kelso Water Department
* Beacon Hill Water District
* Lakeside Industries
* Laborer’s Local 335
* Northwest Carpenters
* IBEW 48
* Kelso School District Carpentry/Diesel Mechanic
* Cowlitz County Public Works & Roads Department
* Kelso Police Department
* Cowlitz Fire 2
* Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 26
* Washington State Department of Apprenticeships
* Building in Youth
* Washington State Department of Transportation
* Lower Columbia Contractors
* NW Lineman JATC
* Lower Columbia College Welding
* Operating Engineers

High Schools Attending:
* Kelso
* Toutle Lake
* Washougal
* Ocean Beach
* LaCenter
* Kalama
* Naselle
* Woodland
* RA Long
* Mark Morris
* Castle Rock