'Industry After Hours' event highlights the implications of the skilled trades industry

K.I. SAWYER, Mich. (WLUC) - Five K.I. Sawyer businesses agreed to partake in 'Industry After Hours' on Wednesday.

The Marquette Alger Regional Educational Service Agency in cooperation with Michigan Works, Lake Superior Community Partnership and Michigan Rehabilitation Services put on the event, a play off of the usual 'Business After Hours.'

"But this is a little different where we're inviting students to come down and also adult-learners and job seekers that might be looking for a different career change, and so they're able to come in and actually see what's going on at these businesses and maybe take a look at what it takes to get into these occupations," says Jim Yates, Career and Technical Education Consultant, Marquette Alger RESA.

The businesses involved included the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Sheet Metal Workers Local #7, Bahrman Trucking, Global Response, and the NMU Electrican Lineman technicians.

The IBEW was showing off it's apprenticeship program facilities, including a classroom and a demonstration room.

That program had a 10 percent acceptance rate for the last class, and involves a lengthy and selective admissions process.

"They've done a heck of a job for us. It is a five-year program, they have to go to 180 hours of school every year which is about every other week, and then they also work in the field for about 2,000 hours a year," says Director Buzz Tiseo.

In the same building, the Sheet Metal Workers Local #7 boasted their training facilities, complete with a virtual reality welding simulator.

The hope of Wednesday's event was to bridge the skills gap, and show America's youth and those already in the workforce all that these industries can bring.

"Because most people do change their occupations or careers about 7 times in a lifetime. That's kind of a national statistic," says Yates.