KC Construction Trades Program See Job Opportunities in Abundance

March 13, 2018

In the construction industry and especially in the carpentry field, job opportunities are in abundance.  It seems that today, everyone is looking for skilled carpenters, big and small contractors, and companies are looking for good help.

According to KC Professor Pete Donnelly, “The average age of a journeyman carpenter is 56, and there isn’t enough trained people to replace these people much less fill the gaps caused by any increase in building.  In addition, this trend seems to be is all over the country with every state facing this dilemma.  Moreover, if there is an infrastructure package passed by congress, carpentry jobs will be in high demand.

Because of this skilled gap, wages are seeing an increase.  Graduates that find work with union contractors will receive higher pay and better benefits.  Graduates with a degree, due in part of Kaskaskia’s articulation agreement with the Carpenters’ Union, can start at $15.00-$18.00 an hour and expect raises every 6 months until their apprenticeship has been served.  After their apprenticeship they will become journeyman carpenters and receive journeyman’s pay between $35.00-$37.00 per hour.

Donnelly goes on to say that “Every week I get a call from a contractor, or cabinetmaker looking for people with basic skills to go to work.  The Southern Illinois Builders Association has been more than generous in helping our program with generous donations for equipment.  SIBA is actively seeking our graduates to begin work with various union contractors.  Contractors and businesses from all over our district have called seeking skilled graduates that are willing to work.  The jobs are there”.

The Carpentry Occupations Program at Kaskaskia College offers both certificates and a degree in carpentry.  These programs offer the student a skill set that will get them that good paying carpentry job.  “We offer 15 different courses in the carpentry field including an OSHA 10 and 30 hour safety training cards.  Students will learn aspects of the trade from site work and layout, through finish work, cabinetry, roofing, concrete formwork, framing, print reading, metal stud work, sheet rock, suspended ceilings, and stair construction”, says Donnelly.

Donnelly started in the construction industry in 1975, during a building boom in the Washington D.C. area and later moved back to Southern Illinois where he continued to work as a carpenter until becoming employed at Kaskaskia in 1999.  “During those years on the job, I worked both commercial and residential jobs, and did everything from working on the Bell Tower, to building homes, to being a millwright and pile-driver to trim-work.  Carpentry work covers a lot of territory and there is much to learn, but I always enjoyed the work and the satisfaction of accomplishment was right there in front of your eyes.  I still do small jobs on occasion, especially for my family, I guess it is the satisfaction you get from building something from scratch and see it come to life”.

For more information about postsecondary career and technical education programs and services at Kaskaskia College visit www.kaskaskia.edu/CareerTech or contact the college at (618) 545-3000). To learn more about statewide career and technical education initiatives throughout Illinois visit www.iccb.org/cte.

Pictured at left is Professor Pete Donnelly.