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West Aurora High School at the annual Apprenticeship Expo

Do you like working with your hands?

Are you  mechanically inclined?

Does the thought of working in an office make you cringe?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may find an apprenticeship would lead to a rewarding, well-paying career.

step 1:

Determine what Trades would suit your skills and interests


Below is a short quiz from Build Your Future that will help narrow down what trades would be a good fit.

LInk to Apprenticeship QuizStep 2:

Explore apprenticeship opportunities


Now that you have an idea of what trades you may enjoy, use the links below to watch a few short videos to learn what each of these trades men and women do.




Step 3:

Connect with a local union


To connect with a local Union or Trade, click on the logos below to visit their apprenticeship page.






more benefits of becoming and Apprentice

The average annual cost of college tuition in the U.S. is around $24,000. With college costs soaring, it is not surprising that many recent graduates struggle with student loan debt. While many careers require some college or a college degree, Unions and Trades train apprentices on the job and incorporate trade school as part of the benefit package. This means apprentices work in their chosen field while attending trade school and graduate debt free.

College is not the only pathway to success in a CTE field. The illustration below demonstrates the earning potential of careers in the skilled trades where learning and earning go hand-in-hand.

LInk to Apprenticeship Quiz

This table is from page 16 of the full report “The Apprenticeship Alternative.”

Apprenticeship Expo 2019

VALEES works with several local unions and trades each year. VALEES offers regional students opportunities to tour apprenticeship training centers, connect with apprenticeship recruiters, and attend the Apprenticeship Expo.

The Apprenticeship Expo allows students, educators and members of the public to participate in hands-on activities such as sheet metal bending, virtual simulators, sky-jack rides and much more with local union representatives. This free event is made possible with the partnership of Painters District Council 30 and IBEW 461.

Due to COVID19 the 2020 Apprenticeship EXPO will be presented in a virtual format. Talk to your teacher or school counselor to inquire about attending.

West Aurora student attending Apprenticeship Expo
A student using one of the virtual simulators at the Apprenticeship Expo
Student participating in one of the hands on activities at the Apprenticeship Expo



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