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Arconic trade expo encourages high school students to choose career in trades

100 high school students from all over the Quad City area came to learn about skilled trades careers at Arconic on Wednesday.

RIVERDALE, Iowa — 100 Quad City area high school students got a hands-on experience Wednesday night learning about careers in the trade industry.

Arconic hosted its first Skilled Trades Exploration Night on Nov. 2. The goal was to help students learn about a possible career path right after high school.

Mechanics, machinists, electricians, roll grinders and power truck repair mechanics put on live demonstrations for the students and their parents. Students were able to walk around to different rooms and experiment with some of the activities themselves. 

One of the students was Marissa Tichler, a junior at Morrison High School. She's watched her dad do electrical work and wanted to learn more about it herself.

"Definitely cutting wires (was the most interesting thing I learned,)" she said. "I've never done it before."

Tichler added that it helped encourage her to think of a future career as an electrician.

"You get to actually do stuff in there, you get to wear things, cut things, connect things, learn more," Tichler said.

"They can learn these are good, high-paying jobs that they don't need to go into debt to go into," said Marguerite Tomlin, Arconic's internal communications specialist. "They are very in demand right now."

There's a skilled worker shortage across the country, Tomlin added, that Arconic is hoping to help fill.

"You kind of see it across the Quad Cities," she said. "Manufacturers are hiring, we're looking for electricians, general mechanics, machinists... It's a chance for us to just get students introduced to them and get them interested in it."

It's the first time Arconic has hosted a trade expo and it hopes to have more in the future.

The company also offers machine shop and electrician apprenticeship programs for high school students. Several Pleasant Valley High School students are currently working in the machine shop through the apprenticeship program. Some from the school have also graduated and now have full-time jobs in the machine shop.

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