Hundreds of High School Students Building the Foundations for Construction Careers

Skilled Trades Expo

Five hundred students throughout the region are taking courses that provide in-demand industry recognized credentials in the building trades, with opportunities to enter directly into apprenticeships upon high school graduation.

In the last two years, nearly 100 students have graduated from high school meeting qualifications for an Ohio State Apprenticeship Council Recognized Pre-Apprenticeship Program Certificate of Completion thanks to the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program through the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio (ESCEO, formerly Mahoning County ESC).

The ESCEO Career Counseling team serves thousands of students in twenty-two school districts throughout Mahoning, Columbiana, Trumbull, and Stark counties. The team works directly with educators, students, businesses, and organizations to increase career readiness skills, shaping the region's workforce of tomorrow. 

In 2019, the ESCEO Career Counselors partnered with the Building Trades Association in an effort to bring awareness of the building trades industry back into the classroom and provide students an understanding of the trades. The partnership began with the introduction of the Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo. Each year at the expo, thousands of students from more than 50 school districts get hands-on as they explore different trades and learn about the opportunities available locally through the trades.

With an increased demand for skilled workers and after piquing student interest with the Skilled Trades Expo, the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program was brought to ten local schools in 2021. The program - a partnership between the ESCEO Career Counselors, the The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pa, and the Ohio Carpenters’ Joint Apprenticeship - gives students an introduction to the building trades, tool use, soft skills, and safety procedures. 

The courses in the program combine project-based learning with relevant technical education in the classroom to prepare students for an apprenticeship. Participating students have the opportunity to earn up to twenty-four industry-recognized credential points along with direct access to an apprenticeship program with the Ohio Carpenters’ Joint Apprenticeship Program. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 324 students in grades 9-12 enrolled in the Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program in ten school districts. Out of the 324 students, 94 students completed the program and 54 seniors declared entry into the Building Trades after high school graduation. Those who completed the program earned a pre-apprenticeship certificate and an industry recognized credential seal that was added to their high school diploma. 

The Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program continues to expand as five new schools have developed programs for the 2022-2023 school year, bringing the total to fifteen participating districts in the region. There are currently more than 500 students in grades 9-12 enrolled in the two-year program, and more than 100 students are expected to complete the program during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo 2022
More than 5,000 students had the opportunity to learn about local opportunities in trades at the annual Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo in September 2022.

Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo 2022

Local trades workers gave students a glimpse of the work involved in various trades at the Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo in September 2022.

Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo 2022

Local students from Columbiana, Lawrence, Mahoning, Mercer, Portage and Trumbull Counties attended the annual Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo in September, exploring the trades in demand locally.

Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo 2022

Trades workers demonstrate common work tasks to more than 5,000 students that passed through the Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo in September 2022.





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