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News : Education May 9, 2019 - 5:45:36 AM

Critical need for skilled trade workers leaving jobs vacant

By J.M. Wright Technical High School

J.M. Wright Technical High School and Festool join forces to bridge the skills gap.

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Stamford, CT - There is currently a low unemployment rate. But at the same time, there is a shortage of skilled trade workers. This is amplifying a jobs crisis in the building trades. The critical need to attract a new generation of workers to bridge the skills gap has prompted J.M. Wright Technical High School and Festool to team up and do something about it.

The two organizations are taking an ambitious approach to raise awareness, an 80-foot-long approach: a one-of-a-kind 18-wheeler educational classroom. The Festool Roadshow is traveling throughout North America giving individuals a rare opportunity for a hands-on introduction to careers in trade work such as carpentry, remodeling, and construction. Teachers will provide demonstrations and showcase numerous high-end tools.

Open to the public, Tuesday, May 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at J.M. Wright Technical High School, 120 Bridge Street in Stamford, students, teachers, tradespersons, and the general public are all invited to learn about innovative systems and efficiencies in various trades. It’s a unique chance for an in-depth look at the trades industry. Festool will be at Wright Tech doing student training until May 16.

“The situation in the trades is already critical today, but it will get even worse when the baby boomers start to retire,” said Eugen Gassmann, VP of Marketing at Festool. “It is so easy to complain and ask for ‘others’ to do something. We transformed our truck into a rolling classroom: a symbol for ‘doing something’ and for how cool it can be to work in the trades — a career that uses technology, your heart, and your brain to create something every day.”

“The Festool Road show will provide a unique opportunity to students, staff, and the community at large. The construction trade students will have dedicated training provided by Festool. This experience is one they won’t forget,” explained Dr. Phyllis Bartoli, J.M. Wright Technical High School Principal.


Two factors have contributed to the labor shortages in the sector:
The first factor is the low national unemployment rate, which has decreased from 4.3% in June 2017 to 3.9% in July 2018. During the same period, more than 300,000 new construction and building jobs were available. According to a report by the US Chamber of Commerce, 91% of construction managers, builders and trade contractors faced difficulties finding skilled workers in 2018. Additionally, 47% of players in the sector believe that this shortage will continue throughout 2019.
The second factor is the reduced interest of Millennials in careers within the building sector. Most building sector workers are from the Baby Boomer generation, and most of them are retiring, leaving many vacancies in the industry.
Kevin O’Connor, host of the television show “This Old House” will be at the event on Tuesday, May 14 for the open house beginning at 10 a.m.

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