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Local building trades digging for new workers

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

For many of the local building trades unions, this is recruiting season as the locals open the application system for people interested in becoming apprentices in the trades.

Both the Laborers and the Operating Engineers are taking applications now but it's a very short period, with the Laborers running to the end of this week and the Engineers next Monday through October 30.

"A lot of Operating Engineers have college degrees of some sort," said Engineers Administrative Manager James Smolinski.

"The Alfred program has a two-year heavy equipment program and we've had folks coming in here from Alfred who do very well because they have two years of basic stuff down. We've had people with engineering degrees, mechanical engineering, diesel mechanics, stuff like that."

Smolinski has an Alfred State degree in mechanical engineering.

Laborers Training Director Gary Kubik says the high pay when working can be an attraction but not everyone wants the tough work and getting dirty on the job. Admission to apprenticeship programs is based on a federally-mandated system to make it fair.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.