Talking trades with Watervliet High School students

Local union rep touts building/construction as a career pathway

Local trades union representative speaks to students seated at desks in the libraryOpportunities abound in the trades! That was the message Glenn Marek of the New York State Laborers Union shared with 11th and 12th grade students during a recent visit to Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School. The union rep spoke about the abundance of good-paying jobs that are available here and elsewhere for students who are interested in joining the workforce after high school.

Mr. Marek encouraged students to “earn while you learn” through an apprenticeship with any of the construction and building trades organizations in the greater Capital Region. Through an apprenticeship, Mr. Marek explained, students can receive the hands-on training and certifications needed for a productive career pathway, and avoid the significant debt that is often associated with pursuing a college degree. He added that every hour of work provides apprentices with benefits for a secure future, including health insurance and retirement funding.

Local trades union representative speaks to students seated at desks in the libraryMr. Marek also shared his three simple tips for success as a laborer:

  1. Show up every day on time
  2. Work hard
  3. Get along with your co-workers, bosses, etc.

Mr. Marek then fielded several questions from the students, including what the qualifications are for joining a union, what is the age of retirement, and others.

High school counselor Katelyn McAvoy invited Mr. Marek to speak at Watervliet High School after many of her students had expressed an interest in learning more about the trades.

High school senior Jacob Oathout thought the presentation was informative. “It opened my eyes to the opportunities, especially with all the different types of trades,” he said.