Meet John Doe: Attend the Building Trades Career Expo April 28-May 1

Paul Gorski
Paul Gorski

By Paul Gorski

Attend the Building Trades Career Expo April 28-May 1

The Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council (NWIBT) is holding its fourth annual Building Trades Career Expo April 28-May 1. The career expo will be open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day at the Carpenter Training Center of Rockford at 1117 Tebala Blvd., Rockford.

The NWIBT is an alliance of 17 craft unions that works to improve the quality of life and create job opportunities for its 15,000 members in an eight-county region in northern Illinois.

The time is right for this career expo. While job growth in some industries is flat, construction work is growing in Illinois. Expo attendees will learn more about local job opportunities through hands-on activities and meeting local building trade leaders. Attendees will also learn how to apply for apprenticeships in each trade.

Quoting a NWIBT press release: “Work is returning to the construction industry, and the NWIBT is looking forward to building a diverse workforce reflective of the local community. The Building Trades is in the fourth year of an outreach program, which primarily focuses on educating the community about career opportunities in the construction industry. The Building Trades has partnered with Rockford School District 205 and the Rockford Housing Authority to expose students and all community members to Building Trades apprenticeship programs, including those with Carpenters, Sheet Metal Workers, Laborers, Painters and Glaziers, Ironworkers, Plumbers and Pipefitters, Operators, Plasterers and Cement Masons, Teamsters, Bricklayers, and Electrical Workers.”

I was reminded of this career expo just days after discussing with some recent college graduates how frustrating it was to find work in their fields, and how expensive their college loan bills were. I work in printing, publishing and Internet development, and even these jobs are being shipped overseas. How can you plan for a career when some jobs are just vanishing?

I spoke with Brad Long, president of NWIBT, about the upcoming career expo. Long is optimistic about the uptick in local construction work, and sees the expo as a great way to educate local residents about the building trades and apprenticeship opportunities.

Long states there are apprenticeship opportunities for high school graduates and those with college degrees looking for a career change. He emphasized the importance of finishing high school or getting your GED. Apprenticeship programs can take you a long way to a career, but you need a solid educational foundation first.

If accepted into an apprenticeship program, you will be paid while you learn. The pay scale varies from program to program, but when you complete your training, you will have a living-wage job with benefits, laying the groundwork for a lifelong career.

Take the first step in your next career; attend the Building Trades Career Expo April 28-May 1. The expo is open to the public, and there is no cost to attend. Contact Long at or (815) 965-2282 for more about the event. Visit for more about NWIBT and its partners and member organizations.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper. Read “Tech-Friendly” at:

From the April 9-15, 2014 issue

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