Organizers Take ‘Wait and See’ Approach with Trades Expo

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — As Ohio school districts await guidelines from the state on what restrictions they will face in the fall, the organizers of the Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo are unsure of how the event will play out.

Coming off a strong inaugural year that drew some 4,500 students from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, as well as Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania, this year was expected to be bigger. Planned for two days instead of one, the event is still scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24.

But if restrictions don’t allow school districts to participate, that might not happen, says Gary Hartman, association services director with the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Hartman gave his update during Thursday morning’s virtual meeting of the Mahoning County Educational Service Center’s Business Advisory Council.

“We’re patiently waiting to see what Ohio’s going to do,” Hartman said. “It’s kind of a wait-and-see as to what happens with the school districts.”

In Pennsylvania, schools have until June 26 to submit their reopening plan, he said. Ohio has yet to announce such a deadline. In addition to reopening restrictions, guidelines on busing must also be considered.

The group looks to expand this year’s expo, spreading it out over two days. Mahoning, Columbiana and Portage counties would tentatively attend on Sept. 23, and Trumbull, Mercer and Lawrence counties Sept. 24. Sponsors are still supporting the event, Hartman said.

He says he hopes the schools hear something about fall guidelines by the end of June.

Pictured: In this file photo from the 2019 Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo, Hayli White, a student from David Anderson Junior/Senior High School, learns the finer points of bricklaying from Matt McClester, field representative for Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 40.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.