DuPage Trade Apprenticeship Expo Returns To Naperville

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The DuPage County Trade Apprenticeship Expo returned to IBEW Local 701 in Naperville after a two-year absence due to the pandemic.

About The Expo

“We started it in 2018, but of course had a little blip there. But we are just excited every year to introduce the younger generations to the trades. We found the best way is to really invite all of the different trade organizations in for one afternoon and invite parents, students, post-graduates, guidance counselors, anybody who’s interested in the building trades to come on in and learn a little,” said Karyn Charvat, Executive director of PowerForward DuPage.

This year the expo included thirteen different trade organizations. Those included plumbers, cement masons and plasterers, bricklayers, and iron workers.

“Baby Boomers Retiring”

Besides educating those interested, the expo also aims to help fill job positions that are quickly opening.

“Construction really is one of the fastest growing industries here in Illinois. What we’re seeing is we’re also losing a large part of our labor force due to the baby boomers retiring, and we’re not necessarily seeing the same number entering into the fields. So the expo really gives us the opportunity to introduce all these different apprenticeship programs to the students, to the guidance counselors, and of course to the parents,” said Charvat.

Change During The Pandemic

While a lot of companies changed the way they work during the pandemic, the trade industry remained largely the same.

“We were essential. So, you know, while a lot of people were working from home, that’s not necessarily the case with people who are building things for a living. So, while we never really took a pause it’s been interesting in the fact that, some of the training programs were impacted a little bit,” said Charvat.

But the expo did pause during that time…so being back in full force, helping to add to the work force, is a welcome sight.

Naperville News 17’s Anthony Yench reports.

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