LEC CEO Matt Bergmann had a great talk with Associate Minority Leader Jim Nash about how to increase participation in the trades.
Jim is a tremendous cheerleader for the trades, and they have talked over the years how important it is to get exposure to high school students as a way to consider a career in construction. Currently, 16 and 17 year-olds can work for a variety of different industries, but they are not allowed to get hands on experience in construction until they are 18. If we are forced to have them wait until 18, we have lost them. We are hopeful that a bill to amend these rules will receive bipartisan support. This should be a common sense issue, and not political.
Like many others I was told I would not be successful unless I attended a four-year institution, which I did and enjoyed every minute of at St. John’s. The truth is, construction careers, including those at Laketown Electric Corporation are rewarding, have paid apprenticeships, and those with drive, willingness to learn, and have a strong work ethic can and will make it to journeyworker electrician and a six-figure payday within four years – debt free! This is all possible to do before their peers that attend a four-year school start paying back six-figures in student loan debt.
It is time to reexamine the message we are telling others about the trades as there are facing significant labor shortfalls in the near future.
Our company, will be looking to hire 15 apprentices between our Twin Cities, Mankato and Rochester locations, if you know anyone that could be interested, drop me a line.