Skilled Trades Fair Offers New Opportunities

by Erin Albanese

Four days after Derek Mabie turned 18 he started working at Swoboda, a Kentwood-based automotive parts manufacturer. Since then, Mabie, a tool-room technician, has nearly completed an apprenticeship program through Grand Rapids Community College, 100 percent-employer sponsored by Swoboda, to receive his journeyman license. He's climbed up the company's pay scale, which ranges from $14 per hour to the upper $20s per hour...