Demand for skilled trade workers is on the rise

BY DENISE ALLABAUGH PUBLISHED: SEPTEMBER 3, 2018

"A shortage of skilled trade workers looms. Some area residents who recently started working in skilled trade jobs said the salaries and benefits are better than many other jobs. Yet, a number of these high-paying trade jobs sit empty…
"The demand for electricians is projected to grow 9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Sean Carey, 32, of Exeter, said he was working in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry when he decided to complete a five-year apprenticeship to become an electrician.
"With electricians being paid more than $70,000 a year, he thought it was a better living and he wanted to be part of a union.
"He completed his free educational training at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 163 union hall in Hanover Twp. two nights a week and received paid on-the job training during the day working for contractors for 40 hours a week. He said his only expenses were his books and tools…

"’In my opinion, I would push for going into a trade over going to college. There aren’t many places where you get five years of education while getting paid for going to school,’ he said. ‘I know people who have four-year college degrees and wind up in the trades because they couldn’t find a job to pay for the amount of debt they put themselves in. It’s a no-brainer.’…
"Training director John Nadolny said there are many opportunities for electricians and other skilled trades such as carpenters and plumbers.
"He said one of the best things about completing a five-year apprenticeship to become an electrician is it doesn’t cost anything. Foremen and supervisors can make more than $100,000 a year…
"Aris Torres, 23, of Scranton, loved working with cars as a kid.
"When he got older, he went to a community college in New York to study computer information systems.
"When he moved to the area, he decided to enroll in the two-year automotive program at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, where the cost was lower than other colleges he considered.
"He graduated from LCCC in May and quickly got a full-time job working as an automotive technician at MotorWorld in Wilkes-Barre on the Chrysler team.
"MotorWorld provided Torres with a $5,000 scholarship toward his education and he started working at the car dealership while he was in school.
"His initial job was moving and parking cars. Then, he began practicing with the technicians and worked with them as an apprentice. As he got better at it, he was hired as a full-time automotive technician…
"Cheryl Oravic, human resources business partner at MotorWorld, wouldn’t say the salary for automotive technicians but she said it’s a good-paying job with benefits…
"With the rising need, Oravic said MotorWorld has been trying to recruit more technicians by going to the area’s vocational technical schools, LCCC and Johnson College in Scranton…
"With engineers also in demand, Frank Mareska of Kingston was able to get a good-paying job with benefits right after finishing school…
"Mareska graduated from LCCC’s engineering manufacturing design program in 2017. He now works as an engineer for Ashley Machine & Tool Company in West Wyoming that manufacturers aerospace components. His job includes programming and design…
"John Mulhern, owner of Ashley Machine & Tool Company, said he also has been having a tough time finding people to fill open positions for engineers and machinists, who have an opportunity to make up to $70,000 a year. He said obtaining a four-year college degree isn’t for everybody and he is constantly looking for people to work in the shop. He has reached out to technical schools looking for workers and he also trains people…
"’People used to feel that if you go to college and get a four-year degree, everything will be great and it doesn’t always work out that way. There may not be a demand for the degree the person is getting,’ Spry said. ‘There’s great job security and stability when people go into the skilled trades.’
"Many skilled trades jobs available pay "very livable" wages and could be obtained with two years of training or less, Spry said.
"LCCC offers a number of low-cost training programs for a variety of trades including welders, which are in great demand as well, she said. Students can choose to go to school full-time or part-time."