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Max Hayes trades show connects employers, potential employees





Industries in need of skilled workers and programs designed to train them came together Thursday at the first-ever Max S. Hayes High School Trades Show.

About 50 industry representatives signed up to meet students and see presentations of work in manufacturing and engineering, building and construction, and automotive technology and repair.

The event matched employers struggling to fill vacancies with a District and career technical school striving to connect graduates to well-paying jobs. A CMSD pipeline will eliminate the need for companies to steal each other’s workers, Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon said.

“There’s one organization in this community that is actually generating new employees,” CEO Gordon said. “It’s K-12 education.”

Camren Wilson, who graduated last year, decided to try a Max Hayes program that sends qualified students straight into apprenticeships in the sheet-metal industry. He is now an apprentice working for the T.H. Martin commercial construction company.

“I knew I wanted to do construction, but I didn’t know what sheet metal work was before this,” said Wilson, who served as one of the day’s speakers. “I liked building stuff and working with metal.”

Amir, a senior, showed visitors a grill he and other students made by cutting, grinding and welding together two steel water tanks. They also constructed a trailer to haul the grill

The Lakewood resident didn’t want to go to college but knew he also had to be successful. When he checked out Max Hayes, the sight of a helmet-wearing student working with a torch and metal sparked his quest to become a welder.

“I thought this looks exciting, this looks like something I want to do for the rest of my life,” he said.

Wanda Reddy, human resources manager for the Great Lakes Towing Co., saw promise for the future at the trades show. The Cleveland-based shipbuilder is scratching for welders, pipefitters, electricians, machinists and diesel mechanics.

“We’re looking for skilled trades workers,” she said. “They’re not available.”

The trades show fits CMSD’s new Vision of Learning, which, among other things, calls for giving students a chance to present their work and receive constructive feedback.

The Friends of Max S. Hayes High School organized the show with support from the Edward A. and Catherine L. Lozick, Deaconess and Reinberger foundations. Keith Laschinger , executive director of the Friends group, said the day demonstrated more than the skill of the students and their educators.

“It’s been a challenging few years working through COVID,” he said. “This is a demonstration of resilience and persistence.”

The trade show also aligns with the District’s emphasis on making sure all students chart a path to college or training and, ultimately, a living-wage job.

The new Planning and Career Exploration, or PACE, program emphasizes awareness of careers in the lower grades before progressing to exploration, planning, internships and other job-related experiences, and, finally, transition with support to the workforce.