SUN Tech connecting students to industries in need of skilled workers

Feb. 25—NEW BERLN — Valley employers in trade craft industries, such as carpentry, masonry, metal work, and welding are crying out for skilled workers, said Eric Turofski, School-to-Career coordinator at SUN Area Technical Institute, during a tour of the facility Friday afternoon.

Many of those in-demand skills are taught at SUN Tech, where there are 19 different programs available for students.

Eli Brown, a Midd-West student, is enrolled in the carpentry program and plans to continuing in the field upon graduation.

"I want to eventually build my own house," he said. "I like building stuff. I like being hands-on." Besides the classroom work involved in learning the latest techniques in carpentry, Brown works a few hours a week on the job, with Witmer Construction, of Winfield.

"I worked for them all summer long and then came here to SUN Tech," he said. He plans on continuing to work for Witmer Construction.

On Friday, Brown was learning how to frame steps. His class was building a small house.

Brown and his fellow classmates also learned about different types of beams and wood products. They get the basics of carpentry, as it evolves, every day.

Turofski explained that students in their programs get high school credits. "Our cooperative education programs are an extension of the classroom.

"Most of our students want to go on to either a post-secondary tech school or directly into industry, in an apprenticeship," he said.

The price of post-secondary education is becoming very expensive, Turofski said. "In my opinion, the kids at SUN Tech are getting a very good education in a short amount of time, which is preparing them to go out into the workforce. and from my dealings with the workforce in this area, they are happy with students who come out of here."

All of SUN Tech's teachers teach employability skills because one of the biggest problems in this area for employers is not being able to find "good people," he said.

"Skilled people for a workforce in need are the kind of students we produce," Turofski said.