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Kaskaskia College President Addresses Skills Gap At Conference

Interim President George Evans addresses critical skills gap to meeting of mayors and local government officials
Kaskaskia College Interim President George Evans delivered his message on the need to tackle the critical skills gap in the vocational trades to a group of more than one hundred economic developers, mayors and city councilman.
Evans joined Salem City Councilman Nic Farley as presenters at a Tax Increment Financing Conference in Mt. Vernon on Thursday, April 5.
“We were very fortunate to present in front of such an influential group of people,” said Evans. “This group was open minded and it was clear they are vested in the best interest of their communities like we are at Kaskaskia College.”
Evans noted the problem is the average worker in the vocational trades is 56 years old and approaching retirement, while the pool of replacement skilled labor is diminishing.
In some instances contractors have to forgo work because they simply didn’t have the crew to take on a project.
In order to have a thriving economic development sector, a community must first and foremost be able to provide area business and industry with trained labor. As Evans noted, no employer will locate their business, or start a business in a region if the community cannot support their need.
One of the keys to tackling this issue is promoting skilled trades to the youth in the region. “The critical skills gap is real, and so is the interest gap among students towards vocational trades,” said Evans. “One of the keys in narrowing that gap is to introduce students to opportunities these careers offer.”

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