GODFREY, Ill. - Ivanka Trump will be stopping in Godfrey, Illinois Wednesday.
The first daughter will be touring Lewis and Clark Community College’s new welding facility and hold a roundtable discussion about work force development.
The Weber Workforce Center is a new 16,000 square foot building that will hold classes for the first time this fall.
Travis Jumper, Coordinator of Welding Technology, said 82 students are enrolled in their program this upcoming semester but trying to inspire young people to get involved in the trade has been a challenge.
“Of the 18 high schools in our district, 14 of them have welding. So I go at least twice a year and go and visit with the high school welding instructors and guidance counselors and explain to them that there are jobs in welding and many other trade fields,” said Jumper.
Those jobs include electricians, plumbers, mechanics, and any other type of machinery work. Jumper said those jobs can pay anywhere from $14 to $32 an hour.
When Granite City Steel shutdown, a few of the workers turned to Lewis and Clark Community College to learn new skills. Those workers now have their old jobs back and Jumper said President Trump talked to them about their experience when he visited the mill back in July.
Finding new skilled workers has been a challenge for John and Jared Hamilton, the co-owners of Hamilton Fab & Steel Supply.
Jared said, “I wouldn't say it’s a dying trade but with technology advancing the way it is, which is a good thing, you still have to have the skill set of labor.”
John said he’s glad Lewis and Clark Community College is teaching classes on welding. He hopes it inspires more people his age to get into the trade.
“A lot of our guys are career men. They’ve been here over 30 years. We’re looking at them in the next few years and bringing in some younger help. They’re going to retire and we’re going to have to replace them,” said John.
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