Students should keep looking to trade careers

Building Bridges to Careers in Marietta has given students a chance to gain valuable experience in exploring career options here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Last week, two Marietta High School seniors did their job shadowing at the construction site for the new Williamstown Elementary School. They were learning about, among other things, the work of a heavy equipment operator and the possibilities for that career path.

What they found out is that they are among the few who are continuing to do so.

“Not that many young people are interested in the trades,” said James Pennington, of Swope Construction. “These men and women are the backbone of the world you see. They’ve built it, the schools, the roads, the bridges and buildings, all of it.”

And, the job demand outlook for such skilled tradespeople is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are more than 2,300 jobs for heavy equipment operators in southeast Ohio, and the median pay for such positions is $23.10 an hour.

But finding young people willing to take on that kind of career is a “challenge,” according to Pennington.

That is a shame.

Kudos to the two students, Vivian Myers and Jaden Waterman, who did seek out more information about becoming a heavy equipment operator, and BB2C for giving them the opportunity.

As Pennington put it, “It’s a good field to be in. You can feel comfortable about your job security.”

Perhaps with the help of programs such as BB2C, and parents and teachers willing to help students explore ALL their options, there will be more who follow Vivian’s and Jaden’s lead.