Dave Baker, training director of the Central Electrical Training Center in Tangent, said the trades sector has been hit especially hard during the recession, but the center continues to accept students into its hands-on programs. At times, unemployment in the trades sector has topped 30 percent, Baker said.
“For the first time in my memory, we didn’t start a class last year, but we have one going now,” Baker said. “At one point, of 250 apprentices, 46 hadn’t worked in more than nine months.” In addition to its core training, the center has also focused on “green energy” training in recent years, Baker said. That includes solar power as well as wind turbines. “We must bring manufacturing back to this country and we must bring vocational training back into our school systems,” Baker said.