Career Fair Highlights Need for Trade Jobs

By Adam Chick

May 8, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 4:15 AM EDT

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Elliott Manufacturing is a Binghamton based company that makes things like metal shielding conduits and valve control devices. At the career fair, workers spoke about their industry's need for specialized workers.

"Tremendous, tremendous need," said Jim Koulikas, "We're actually seeing an influx of material that used to be outscored to other countries and now we're seeing some small in-sourcing coming back to the United States."

Student Fred Lanfear says he could see himself in welding for a company like Elliot for his whole life.

"They push college a lot," said Lanfear. "You want a job in an office so you make a lot of money, but there's still a lot of money in jobs like this I think."

This year President Obama announced a $12 billion community college initiative, to ramp up programs that teach trades to try and increase the number of blue collar workers in the workforce.

Lanfear's plan is to get a 16-month degree in welding so he'll be able to pursue a career close to home.

"It's just something that I saw up here and then I worked on a little bit because I'm in auto body and I do flame welding and stuff. So I just got interested in it," he said.

It wasn't just trade careers students could study--the career fair included representatives from more than 60 businesses or groups in fields like like education, health care, and business services.