COLOMA, Wis. (WAOW)– Across the country, and in Wisconsin, there is a construction labor shortage. Wisconsin Operating Engineers Local 139 is trying to fix the shortage.
On Wednesday, high school students from across the state were invited to the Wisconsin Operating Engineers training center in Coloma for an “externship day.”
Students learned about jobs in the construction and other skilled labor fields. They tried out construction equipment simulations and even got to operate excavators.
As students are pushed towards four-year universities, skilled trade jobs have seen a decrease in their workforce. Wisconsin Operating Engineers hopes that by exposing students to the field, they will be inspired to pursue it in the future.
“Not just operating engineers, but all the skilled trades need this work for the future,” said Terry McGowan, the president business manager of Wisconsin Operating Engineers Local 139. “What we’re doing here is introducing these young students to our craft.”
Governor-Elect Tony Evers was there to address the students. He talked about the importance of Operating Engineers in the Badger State.
“In order to be a good functioning state, we’re going to need operating engineers. An operating engineer is a valuable occupation, it’s an occupation that has honor to it,” Evers said.
The Governor-Elect also said that as he creates a plan to fix Wisconsin’s infrastructure, operating engineers will play a key role.