The construction trades are dealing with the reality of needing to encourage young people to seek a career in the field. As schools and parents pushed students toward college, the construction industry became neglected, surviving off the labor of older generations.
Plumbers Local 55 (Cleveland) President Doreen Cannon joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss a building trades focused job fair occurring on Oct. 13.
She also discussed the effort to recruit more women and minorities into the building trades workforce.
Getting involved in the trades
Cannon took an unconventional path into the trades. She first attended college, leading her into retail management where she worked long hours on a salary, not receiving compensation for many of the hours worked.
She would eventually have a son, who she raised at home. While taking time away from the retail industry she realized she wanted something more.
Her mother found an advertisement in the newspaper for a job fair and encouraged her to attend. Cannon was introduced to the building trades at this job fair, and she took interest in the plumbing trade. She later applied for the apprenticeship, and the rest is history.
Apprenticeship job fair in Cleveland
Cannon was excited to discuss the upcoming apprenticeship job fair. The industry is currently facing a need for workers. She said this need is widespread and not limited to just one trade.
The older generations of tradesmen and tradeswomen are retiring at record rates, despite an abundance of work in the Cleveland, Ohio area. This is a great time for women and minorities to get into the building trades, she said
Cannon encouraged all to attend. She said graduating high school students are welcome, college students, people looking to switch careers and anyone else interested in a career in the trades.