Library hosts CEFA information session

CEFA President Byron McCain spoke about career opportunities in skilled trades to a full room duirng a July 29 information session hosted by the Pelham Public Library. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

CEFA President Byron McCain spoke about career opportunities in skilled trades to a full room duirng a July 29 information session hosted by the Pelham Public Library. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—College may not be for everyone, whether due to the rising financial burden or other reasons, not all students can or will go to college. On July 29, the Pelham Public Library hosted a free information session given by the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama about alternative options.

“I’m not one to say don’t go to college, but there are other opportunities,” CEFA President Byron McCain said.

Although the job market is tough in some fields, there is an increasing demand for skilled tradesman, and many opportunities for employment in the construction industry, McCain explained.

“We don’t have enough 20-year-olds or 30-year-olds coming into the trades,” McCain said, noting the average age of a skilled tradesman in the United States is 47 and for every new worker entering the industry, four leave.

In addition to employment opportunities, McCain stressed the high earning potential in skilled trade careers. However, most people don’t realize the importance of training in order to get a job in the construction industry, McCain said.

CEFA provides training in construction trades such as electrical, HVAC, welding, pipe fitting, plumbing, carpentry and sheet metal, and they will soon launch training in iron working, McCain said. CEFA also assists students enrolled in their programs to find jobs in their trade.

“(Employers) are looking for people with skill… we’re looked upon as a source for new employees with training,” McCain said. “We can take someone and in 12 to 18 months put them in a skill set that will set them up for the rest of their lives.”

Regular enrollment in a CEFA training program costs around $3,800, however McCain told those gathered at the library about a new scholarship opportunity for veterans and high school seniors allowing them to receive training in plumbing, pipefitting or iron working for $250.

“It’s an unbelievable deal,” McCain said, adding training is “the biggest jump start on a job in the construction industry there is.”

The July 29 CEFA information session was part of a series of financial education programs for families and students funded by the Smart Investing @ Your Library grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association bringing unbiased financial information to the community.

Due to the success and popularity of the program, Pelham Library Director Barbara Roberts said she hopes to host more CEFA information sessions. “I hope we will be able to go to the high school too,” Roberts said.

“We want (people) to come to us and learn how to build a career,” McCain said. “A desire to come and learn a trade and change what their future looks like, to set (students) up for a job that’s a career, that’s what I want.”