Nate Manecke of Cameron works on his cold-formed steel
framing Tuesday afternoon at Moraine Park Technical
College in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
public is invited to watch as those skilled in
carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and heat and frost
insulating participate in Associated Builders and
Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin Apprentice Skill
Competition. They will also compete in a written
Elizabeth Roddy is the recruitment and training
coordinator with Madison-based ABC.
said there is a “huge worker shortage” in the
construction industry and the event allows apprentices
to share their talents. It is also designed to get the
public interested in the trades. Construction workers
are a necessity to have the roads and buildings we use
everyday, she said.
need to encourage our young to be proud of their work,”
Charlie Vine of Fond du
Lac (in the background) moves a piece of steel as he and
others work on cold form steel framing Tuesday afternoon
at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
Roehrig of New Holstein is an instructor with ABC of
Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program at Moraine Park
Technical College and agrees there is a shortage.
good news is we are starting to see increasing numbers,”
he said. The economy was doing really well, but as it
began falling in 2007 so did the number of people
interested in construction. “We pretty much lost a whole
generation of workers.”
Tuesday he worked with apprentices from across Wisconsin
at the West Bend campus, including the winner of last
year’s Wisconsin ABC competition, Charlie Vine of Fond
was a third-year apprentice at the time and after
winning in Wisconsin he took fourth place at the
national competition in Florida.
got into the trades because he didn’t know what he
wanted to do after high school but he knew he didn’t
want to spend money to go to college without having a
goal. He’s satisfied with his decision to take up the
“It’s a job where you can dig a hole in the ground and
end up being the owner of a company,” he said. However,
“I don’t want to swing a hammer for the rest of my
like to be a site supervisor or project manager.
David Petersen of Manitowoc is also in Roehring’s class.
The master plumber is one of the older students at age
29. He decided to get in the program as a change of
career and just likes learning, he said. “The more you
know, the better,” Petersen said.
few students in Roehrig’s class have family members who
are in the construction industry and found it appealing,
including Clinton Johnson, 23, Kansasville. “My dad was
always in it and I’m learning a lot,” he said while
constructing a wall section.
Apprentice Skill Competition includes a four-hour
morning competition that counts as 75 percent of a
competitor’s score and a two-hour written exam that
makes up the other 25 percent.
“It’s stressful,” Roehrig said of the challenge. The
real-life job can also be stressful, so the competition
is a valuable event.
“That’s part of becoming a good tradesperson is to show
what they can do,” he said.
of Wisconsin has nearly 1,000 people in its
apprenticeship program, and competitors represent six
Wisconsin technical colleges and about 20 construction
companies, according to a news release.
public can watch the hands-on competition for free 8
a.m.-noon. There is a cost to take part in a
construction teamwork training session, lunch and an
Congressman Glenn Grothman and Wisconsin Department of
Workforce Development Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell
will be at the event.
Winners will represent Wisconsin in the National Craft
Championships in Florida in March.
Visit ABC’s website
Reach Editor Jennifer McBride at