Mike Coello of
Coello and Associates explains to Oconomowoc High School
students how the company pours foundations and can print
them with different designs for customers.
Alex Nemec/Freeman Staff
SUMMIT — The Metropolitan Builders Association showcased
houses to students Friday morning at Lake Country
Village to introduce them to the kinds of careers they
can pursue in the skilled trades.
MBA showed off three homes to students from Oconomowoc
High School and others as part of the daylong event.
Students were shown the careers they could have in areas
such as masonry, roofing, plumbing, cabinetry and
heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Oconomowoc High School sophomore Noah Jordan said he
became interested in the trades because his father was
an engineer and he hasn’t been pushed to go to a
four-year school. “I think a lot of the programs at the
school right now and a lot of the newer parents are
promoting getting into the trades instead of actually
going to college,” Jordan said. “As a lot of people here
have said, it’s just smarter to get into the trade at
high wages, job security
president Jonathan Synovic wrote a letter to parents
that the students received in their gift bag telling
about the trades. Synovic said while parents and high
school counselors encourage going to a fouryear college,
trades provide an alternative and a solid future.
“Individuals who chose construction and related
industries are seeing record wages and job security in a
tight labor market,” Synovic said in the letter.
of the major talking points throughout the career day
was the money to be made right now within the
industries. Trade jobs are currently experiencing a
shortage of qualified workers, so new workers have a
chance to earn up upwards of $50,000 to $60,000 in a few
Jordan said he was interested in plumbing and electrical
jobs and entering the trades right away would give him a
chance to be independent going into the future.
teacher Steve Olson teaches the building and trades
class and said people within the trades are very smart.
get the kids out on a job site, they get to talk to each
one of the tradesmen and learn the skills they have and
the jobs they do,” Olson said. “These kids can see that
you still need to have your education and it doesn’t
have to be just related to a four-year college.”
Students coming out of high school and going straight
into the trades start earning money, Olson said.
“That doesn’t mean they’re going to stop learning,”
Olson said. “So many of these trades would have the kids
going off to WCTC to get their special skills training,
their code training, but they get to start making some
volunteer Jean-Marie Ruehl said society has tricked
parents into thinking trades weren’t a reasonable career
was brainwashed into thinking that I was a poor parent
if my kids didn’t go to college, or that my kids weren’t
successful if they don’t go to college,” Ruehl said.
“That’s just not the case.”
of opportunity to advance’
junior Keegan Lazar said he has found an interest in
concrete and plumbing trades and he took away just how
many opportunities there are in the trades field.
“There’s a ton of opportunity to advance in whatever
field you go into,” Lazar said. “It’s kind of inspiring
to hear some of these people stories who have started as
a laborer and now they run their own businesses.”
Lazar said taking the building trades class at OHS has
seen a change in culture of four-year colleges being
pushed on to students.
people Lazar has spoken with about trades have told him
that they wished they wouldn’t have gone to a four-year
and gotten so far in debt.
Olson said a lot of kids don’t like to sit somewhere and
learn and would rather be doing things hands-on.
guarantee you if you get them actively involved in
something, they learn it quicker,” Olson said.
said each trade has different interest levels for each
person and that’s why the event was so important to the
“They can see that this is something they like to do,”
Olson said. “These kids, they have the passion, they
want to be working with their hands, and they want to be
manipulating. They want to be on their feet and doing