Roofing, solar power training held in Camden County amid shortage of skilled workers

There is a need for skilled workers in the roofing and solar power industries.

The worker shortage prompted a national roofing company to hold on-the-job training this week in Camden County.

The training, held in Pennsauken, gave a group of 20 men and women the chance to learn the trades at GAF Roofing Academy.

“I’m definitely very interested in solar being the new source of energy for homes, so when I heard about it I said I definitely am going to sign up,” says Nonye Udotong, of Cinnaminson.

The group learned the basics of the industry.

“They learn the basics of a roof anatomy, the rafters, what a roof is made of, what goes on that roof to protect the home underneath it and then they do hands-on training after that,” says trainer Danny Caivano.

The graduates will be given a chance to apply for entry level positions.

“After this, I know that definitely I would like to [apply] My interest will be electric and electrician, so I think I will go in for solar insulation first because I think that is the way in,” says Udotong.

The program was available to anyone because of the need for skilled workers.

“It reminds me of my grandfather. He passed away not too long ago, so more likely this is going to be easy to me I feel like I can do it,” says Brandon Munden, of Philadelphia.

The trainers say that more people should consider a career in the trades.

“The technology boom in the ’80s has scared people away from going into the trades and what that created was a gap. In the country, we have a 34% documented shortage in skilled trades,” says training manager Danny Caivano. “So guys like me – retiring or teaching and not getting up on the roofs or getting down on the ground, really doing construction or not being replaced because college was more important. But now you’re seeing a trend – that you can still make a good living working with your hands.”

Friday was the final day of the free, five-day program.

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