West Michigan students, parents, teachers and employers are invited to attend a Skilled Trades Expo on Thursday, October 3, 2019, at Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Texas Township Campus. The event is free and open to the public between 4-7 p.m.

A sizable professional trades shortage exists in Michigan and is expected to continue through 2024. Professional trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in the Michigan economy, and approximately 15,000 new job openings are expected annually in the state between now and then, according to the Going Pro In Michigan website.

Kalamazoo Valley is preparing students for jobs in fields that include automotive technology, electrical technology, HVAC technology, engineering/design/manufacturing technology, welding technology, and chemical technology.

“We celebrate National Advanced Manufacturing Week every day at the college,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Services Dr. Peter Linden. “Our graduates are receiving multiple offers before graduation. Our biggest challenge is providing enough trained workers for the regional labor market demand.

While many students will continue their education pursing a four-year degree, most are happy to get the training they need and to move quickly into a career, without a lot of college debt.”

Today’s skilled trades offer an array of opportunities that challenge both mind and body. “High-tech manufacturing and skilled trades employers all across the state are nearly desperate for students looking to embark on a high-paying job with benefits, close to home,” said Department Chair for Industrial/Technical Division Erick Martin.