New home construction may be down, but a building trades rep says that won't last. Ken Kraemer is executive director of Building Advantage, a southeast Wisconsin group representing unions and the construction industry, and he notes the construction industry is cyclical. "Every time that it comes back, it normally comes back twice as strong," Kraemer says.
The building trades need new workers. "We've got retirement, we've got members that are going to move on" says Kraemer. Building Advantage is holding a jobs far at the Waukesha Expo Center today, and Kraemer says, even with the recession, there are opportunities for young people in the building trades. "You have to have a high school diploma or a GED. Attend one of orientation workshops, and at that point if they're still interested in getting into the trades, we'll walk them right through what they need to do."
And, while the average age for a building trades apprentice is currently 28, Kraemer hopes to convince more high school grads to get into the trades right out of school. "Why is it the second career choice? We can't figure that out, and we're working hard to change that," Kraemer says. "We're offering highly paid, skilled jobs that they can use for the rest of their lives to take care of their families and their communities."