WXXI AM News

skilled trades

More than 800 United Auto Workers are on strike in Rochester. It marks the first time since 1970 that local UAW workers have gone on strike, outside of company layoffs.

General Motors has been invited to join the conversation, which includes three striking workers:

There’s a shortage of workers in the construction trades. According to the Commercial Construction Index Survey, since 2017, more than half of the trade contractors surveyed stated that they had a high level of difficulty finding skilled workers, and due to that issue, about 70 percent of contractors reported they are challenged to meet schedule requirements.

Local professionals in the trades want to reverse that trend. The Builders Exchange of Rochester is hosting a Construction Career Day, where local educators, students, and parents are invited to experience a day in the life of the trades. The event includes a job site tour, a panel discussion, and a career fair. Organizers hope the event will show students that the trades are a viable alternative to college. Our guests discuss opportunities in their fields and the state of the trades:

Assemblymember Harry Bronson is back in studio with us for the first time since his reelection last September. We talk to him about his legislative priorities, including the Empire State Apprenticeship Program, which was included in the state budget. The job-training program will help young people gain skills in fields like nursing, agriculture, and advanced manufacturing. The goal is to reduce youth unemployment, poverty, and a skills gap in the workforce.

We also talk state business: ridesharing, healthcare, and more. Our guests:

For years, political leaders have stressed STEM education and the importance of a college degree. What about the BOCES model, focusing on learning skilled trades, like welding? There is momentum shifting toward skilled trades in the modern economy, particularly as college graduates enter an uncertain marketplace. Our guests: 

  • Olie Olson, metal trades instructor at the Mt. Morris Career and Technical Education Center
  • Matt Cicero, senior at Livonia Central Schools and a student in the Metal Trades program
  • Megan Sweeney, junior at Churchville-Chili Central Schools and student in the Engineering and Metal Fabrication program at Monroe 2 BOCES’ Career and Technical Education Center
  • Julie Donlon, assistant superintendent for instruction and school improvement for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership