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ABC Trailer Unveiled In Emmetsburg For National Apprenticeship Week

By Staff | Nov 16, 2017

TRYING?IT?OUT - EHS?student Nick Krieg tries out the virtual reality simulator for Heating, Ventilationi and Air Conditioning in the ABC?Trailer Tuesday morning as classmate Marie Trewin watches. The visit was sponsored by Association of Building Contractors of iowa. -- Dan Voigt photos

Today’s technology driven society offers a multitude of career choices for youth. But while there are many career options out there, some that are too often forgotten are some of the most vital to our society.

While there are job opportunities for doctors, lawyers and educators, there are also jobs in the skilled trades industries, such as electrical, plumbing, sheet metal and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.

For the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa, the task is simple. Present the building trades as career options to young people.

Getting that message out to high school students took a giant step forward Tuesday when the ABC’s mobile Virtual Reality trailer was unveiled at Emmetsburg High School and Emmetsburg Catholic School.

The visit to Emmetsburg was no accident – the current President of the Iowa Chapter of the Associated Building Contractors is Nick Steinkamp, President of KW?Electric of Emmetsburg.

STATE?PRESIDENT - Nick Steinkamp of KW?Electric was the driving force to bring the Association of Building Contractor’s Virtual Reality trailer to Emmetsburg High School to show students some of the careers available in the building trades. Steinkamp is also President of the ABC?of Iowa

“The ABC?decided that presenting the building trades to young people is vital in recruiting and bringing new tradesmen and women into our industry,”?Steinkamp explained. “We came up with the idea of a traveling exhibit that could use virtual reality headsets to show people what the building trades really look like.”

Through the ABC?Education center in Hiawatha, a trailer was obtained from Aluma Manufacturing and outfitted to become a mobile showplace. The interior features various aspects of the four building trades; electrical wiring, HVAC systems, sheet metal work and plumbing work. Stud walls inside the trailer show how various components come together for construction, and informational panels are located throughout the trailer.

Additionally, four large flatscreens provide visitors with the opportunity to don virtual reality headsets of goggles and earphones so that the wearer can join a crew working on a rooftop HVAC?unit, or electricians wiring a structure.

Other screens display a wealth of information on the building trades.

“One of the messages we’re hoping to bring to young people is the idea of a cost-effective education,” Steinkamp noted. “When someone enters the building trades apprenticeship program, they must work 8,000 on the job training hours before they can sit for the national test. They attend training at our facility in Hiawatha for one week a month for three months, but then they are working at the same time.”

According to information from the ABC, skilled workers with a two-year degree or technical training earn a higher average income than those with a four-year degree.

In the latest studies, the average annual income for an electrician in Iowa is $51,000, with more experienced electricians making upwards of $86,000.

A study by the ABC?showed that for every one occupation that requires a Masters’ Degree or higher, there are two professional jobs requiring a four-year degree and seven high-skilled/high demand jobs requiring a one-year certificate or two-year degree.

Those finding have remained the same from 1950 to 1990 and are projected to remain true through the year 2030.

It is projected in 2018, that 57 percent of jobs will require skilled training like that obtained through apprenticeship programs of the ABC, while 33 percent of jobs will require a four-year degree and just 10 percent will require unskilled training.

“The rising costs of a college education and shrinking job market are making for a decrease of available professional jobs,”?noted Ginny Shindelar, ABC?Educational Coordinator, who is traveling with the virtual reality trailer. “In our current economy, a college education doesn’t guarantee financial success.”

“It’s important that our young people learn there are other opportunities out there,” Steinkamp said. “These are professions for our future that we will need to have.”