Training for the trades: Local company aiming to prepare next generation of workers

Getting an electrician or plumber to make a house call these days is like winning the lottery.

Experts expect the problem to get worse as today’s workers retire and fewer young people enter the trades.

Local company Forge is attempting to turn the training model upside down in order to build and empower the next generation of tradespeople.

Forge teaches and pays people to come and work the trades. When they complete the 12-step program, they’re guaranteed a job with benefits.

“We all think that we have a supply chain issue and we do have a bit of a supply chain issue but if it takes 12 weeks to get your windows in, but 16 weeks to get a crew to install them, we actually have a labor issue,” said founder and CEO Mark Kasdof.

Kasdof says he created the program when he couldn’t hire the staff he needed.

“The average age of an electrician today is 60 years old,” said Kasdof.

Kasdorf believes the forge approach allows students to test-drive different trades - without incurring any debt - something that’s very attractive to young people.

“I think the bigger problem today is there’s very few on ramps that are compatible to Gen Z. Hopping on a giant commercial construction site is really intimidating,” said Kasdorf. “A training program like this creates a very safe and inclusive on-ramp into the trades.

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