Valley technical schools see renewed interest

Valley technical schools see renewed interest

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Michael West has four months of school left at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

“I do plan on getting a job and starting my career in welding by the end of the year,” West said.

Manufacturing has always been part of Youngstown’s DNA. From the days of the steel industry to new opportunities, the need for skilled trades has always been around. Now there’s the oil and gas industry, which has brought renewed interest in trades like welding, according to the Local 396 Plumbers and Pipefitters and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

Jessica Jacobs, 18, has four welding job opportunities.

“It’s just kind of fun to watch and it’s good to look at what you actually did,” Jacobs said.

Denny Naples is welding teacher at MCCTC. He said that sixty-five students wanted to take welding classes, although there was only room for 20. While things have slowed down with the gas and oil industry, manufacturing jobs are in demand, according to Naples.

“They need more welders now. Compared to ten years ago, they need a lot of welders,” Naples said.

Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 has seen a lot of interest in the industry, including work on cryogenic plants. The end of 2014 was slow, but expects more projects this year.

“On the oil and gas side, the economy has a lot to do with that,” Local 396 Training Director Marty Loney said. “When you’re seeing the price of oil (at) forty dollars a barrel or so, it does effect what some of the manufacturers are going to do to produce that.”

Local 396 said welding isn’t the only option. It offers apprenticeship programs for trades like pipe fitting and is taking applications.

“There’s a lot of things that are happening in the valley, especially coming up this year in 2015 for us to take off,” Loney said.

That’s good news for Michael West. He’s ready to get to work.

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