Skilled labor can be a lucrative career

State Rep. Joe Hohenstein on Friday held his third annual labor fair at Abraham Lincoln High School, featuring more than 25 vendors, representing unions and building trades.

City Councilwoman Katherine Gilmore Richardson and staff were also present to provide students with her Apprenticeship Guidebook and to talk with students. Hundreds of Lincoln students attended from all grades and had an opportunity to speak directly with trainers and apprenticeship coordinators about how to prepare for and pursue a lucrative career in skilled labor.

The fair included representatives from trade schools run by Plumbers Local 690, IBEW Local 98, Operating Engineers Local 542, Roofers Local 30, Ironworkers Local 401, Steamfitters Local 420, Insulators Local 14, Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 592, Transport Workers Union 234, PASNAP nurses and AFSCME DC 47. Schools and organizations like Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works and Families Achieving Success Together also participated.

“We cannot overstate the importance of providing young people with as many options as possible to find a career that will be fulfilling and family sustaining,” Hohenstein said.

Local AFL/CIO President Pat Eiding emphasized the importance of basic reading and math skills.

Tom Roush, a 2012 Lincoln alum, talked about his experience going from apprentice to journeyman in the Carpenters union and how that helped establish him in the work he loves, organizing The Block Gives Back.

“Hard work doesn’t have to be miserable. Hard work doesn’t have to be, you know, getting out there, getting out there, getting dirty, being mad all your life. It’s a fun thing, especially when you’re doing it with your friends, with people you love,” he said.

Andro Sydney and Katherine Crutchfield, from Lincoln’s chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America, the student organization that organized the event, talked about learning skills that will be invaluable in the rest of their lives. ••