ICUEEICUEE 2019 welcomed approximately 240 students and instructors from the Kentucky and Indiana area earlier this month as part of a career skills event hosted by AEM and Bridging America’s Gap.

The event – which saw a number of industry experts speak to groups of 20-30 students about various tasks associated with the skilled trades – was held in conjunction with this year’s ICUEE show in Louisville and highlighted AEM’s ongoing efforts to develop and share best practices and tools to help recruit the workforce of tomorrow.

“We look forward to building on what was successful at ICUEE and expanding it even more at CONEXPO/CON-AGG in 2020,” said Julie Davis, director of workforce development at AEM. “Working with exceptional partners like Bridging America’s Gap and SkillsUSA will provide the opportunity to inspire hundreds of future workers to join our industry. What a perfect opportunity to create excitement, brand recognition and communicate the career paths that exist in the trades.”

Experts gave presentations on skills such as welding, assembly, equipment operation, horizontal drilling and machining. Those in attendance also were afforded the opportunity to hear career tips from a human resources perspective and participate in a simulator experience provided by Ditch Witch. Participating organizations also included: Altec, Vermeer, Vactor and the American Welding Society and Safety Management Group.

ICUEEStudents in attendance were between the ages of 16 and 21, had all expressed interest in learning about the trades, participated in a SkillsUSA chapter, or were involved in a trades career college.

“Ultimately, it was a perfect audience for us to speak with,” explained Davis. “Instructors and students alike found the presentations to be educational, motivating and inspiring.”

Presenters shared a wealth of valuable information throughout the day, including personal stories about their work, how they got their start in the trades, and how they were able to embark on a career path that fostered professional growth and development over the years. In addition, students learned about the average wages and job descriptions associated with the roles highlighted during the event, as well as a 10-year employment outlook. Several other in-demand trade positions were also represented through a short series of videos.

Following the career skills presentations, the 240 or so students and instructors hit the ICUEE show floor, where they were able to engage with exhibitors and see the vast number of companies in the utility sector. During their time in the exhibit space, representatives from AEM and Bridging America’s Gap asked students and instructors to comment on their experience. One instructor replied: “Great! My kids would never have had the opportunity to do this before they go into the industry without this. Any school that didn’t participate missed out!” A number of students also reported positive experiences, and that they were appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the event.

“There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the event created impact and left a lasting impression,” said Davis. “Getting our members in front of interested students, talking about the opportunity in the industry and creating inspiration and excitement made this event tremendously worthwhile for everyone involved.”

If your company would like the opportunity to get your brand in front of hundreds of young adults at CONEXPO/CON-AGG, email AEM’s Julie Davis at to be a part of the groundbreaking workforce development programming coming in 2020.

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