Preparing for the 2019 U.P. Professional Trades Career Days

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The final preparations are underway for the largest hands-on career fair in the Upper Peninsula.

The Professional Trades Career Day Planning Committee held their last meeting on Monday as they get ready for the 2019 Professional Trades Career Days happening on September 25th and 26th.

"So the folks that might be presenters are all the construction trades, featuring their apprenticeship training programs, we'll have some of the national guard folks there, a lot of universities, and great opportunities for young people to come and visit,” said Tony Retaskie, Executive Director for the Upper Peninsula Construction Council.

Almost 1,000 students are expected to attend this year, but the event is open to everyone.

"One of the neat things about this career fair is that it is going to be open to the public from 2:30 to 5:30 on the 25th,” said Retaskie.

The Upper Peninsula Construction Council began hosting the career fair back in 2005, throughout different U.P. communities, but organizers are excited to have it centralized in one location this year.

"This is the first time that we are going to have two days and so that's going to allow the vendors to set up even more activities for the students,” said Jim Yates, MARESA Career and Technical Education Consultant.

This event allows students who are already interested in the trades, to get a feel for the careers they are pursuing, but it also helps those who many not have a plan yet for after high school.

"For those students that may not realize this is a good career option, they can come out and get a hands on experience and opportunity, and really get a feel for what it might be like to operate a bulldozer, climb a light pole, mix concrete, kind of get dirty and get their hands on,” said Yates. “Get a feel for what it might be like to work in one of those trades.”

The fair will be taking place at the Marquette County Fairgrounds and is free to attend but minors will need a guardian’s signature to participate.

The professionals that will be attending the fair include labor unions from the region, construction contractors, regional employers, representatives from Northern Michigan University and the National Guard.