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Operation Trades Awareness™

Knobelsdorff (KE) has committed $500,000 over the next ten years towards “Operation Trades Awareness™” (OTA™). OTA™’s goal is to build awareness and interest in various trade and construction career paths offered by KE and local companies to a new generation of learners. 

“We hear it repeatedly; kids don’t want to take the four-year college track and are unaware of the other career paths available. By working with these seven local school districts to communicate the benefits of a career in the trades is not only a benefit to the students but to educators and parents as well. We’re excited to continue to expand this program into more communities and encourage local companies to participate,” said Karl von Knobelsdorff, CEO/President of KE.   

KE works with the following school districts: Goodhue, Red Wing, Lake City, Cannon Falls, Zumbrota, Pine Island, and Kenyon/Wanamingo. There are hopes for future expansion, but for the first two years, OTA™ schools receive:

  • Tool kits for all graduating seniors (1,335+ distributed)
  • Field trip to a local KE solar site for high schoolers (80+ students visited)
  • The books "Build It" and "Construction People" for Kindergartners (1,298+ books donated)
  • OSHA-10 certification sponsorships for high school students interested in the trades (198+)
  • Job shadowing opportunities
  • Numerous speaking engagements with high schoolers on the career paths offered through the trades. 
  • Signing day for high school and college graduates, welcoming them to the KE family.

In 2021 the construction industry would need 430,000 craft professionals to meet the current demands – a career path that is struggling to attract the younger demographic. OTA™ aims to change those statistics and urges companies to join its cause. Adam Hanson, Chapter President of Associated Builders and Contractors of MN/ND, encourages KE to continue this brand-new program. “This is an impressive and innovative program and I’m glad it is taking off. When ABC members like Knobelsdorff invest and promote construction careers, they will be the first to see the benefits of that.” 

KE is proud to contribute to the future of the trades and is committed to doing more in the coming year. For more information on OTA™ or how to get involved, contact Megan Ramaker at [email protected]

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