Everywhere you look, local manufacturers have good-paying jobs available.
Supplying the skilled workforce for local companies is the mission of area trade schools.
Tucked in the parking lot of the Millcreek Mall is the Erie Institute of Technology (EIT). The local trade school is training hundreds of students to be electricians, HVAC technicians, welders, CNC machinists and various electronic and IT careers.
EIT is helping meet the demands of local companies eager for new workers.
“I think the first thing we do very well is we keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in our community. Our students are being trained for jobs that exist and are in need. What’s most important is that once you complete our program, you’re gainfully employed in the field in which your trained,” said Paul Fitzgerald, CEO of the Erie Institute of Technology.
Jake McCrory came here after high school. He’s in the nine-month-long welding program
“I decided to come here because to me the trades are fun — especially with welding, the whole playing with metal. It’s just a lot of fun to me. I’m learning quite a bit and I’m getting ahold of it pretty quickly too,” said Jake McCrory, welding student.
For people not interested in college, trade school is a faster less expensive path to a rewarding career.
“This is an option. Not everybody is cut out to go to college. But oh my gosh, there’s so much opportunity in the fields in which we train students. If you come to EIT and study, let’s say the welding program, every class you have either directly or indirectly relates to welding,” said McCrory.
One of the most popular programs at the Erie Institute of Technology is the CNC machining program where students can be trained and prepared in just nine months for a good-paying job in manufacturing.
“The demand is huge right now for machinists, CNC machinists and tool makers. Everyone is looking right now,” said Keith Walker, CNC instructor.
Walker became a machinist right after high school. Now, he teaches the trade to the next generation and still loves it.
“To me, this is my art. Some people paint a picture — I take a block of metal and turn it into something that’s usable on an everyday basis,” Walker added.
EIT classes range in length from six to 21 months. The cost of courses ranges between $6,000 and $20,000. Financial aid is available.
And the good news? There’s a job waiting for you.
“I can tell you there s more jobs available right now for our graduates than we’ve ever had before in all of our programs. So if you’re a student that graduates from EIT and you want to work in the field, the opportunity exists. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before but it’s really true right now,” Walker said.
To see a list of employers looking to expand their workforce, head to EIT’s website for more.