Local trade professionals and educators work together to help people find their dream career

SPOKANE, Wash.– Inland Northwest educators and commnercial contractors are working together to change the narrative on trades and to help people find careers.

While some students thrive in college, others end up with degrees they never use. The trades industry needs skilled workers to jump into new positions.

That’s why ABC Inland Pacific and Mead High School partnered together Wednesday to show the community how they can turn their passions into a paycheck early in life. There were 35 employers at the first-ever Trades Night to teach families about jobs that can lead to long-term careers.


Sara Santiago is somebody who is a few months into her trades job and said she’s living the dream.

She went to college, graduated and said she worked dead-end jobs for years.

“I did what I thought I needed to do: graduate high school, go to college, get a degree and work in an office,” Santiago said.

It wasn’t what she wanted to do. Now, two months into her welding career, her life lights up with sparks.

“As soon as my hood drops, the rest of the world disappears,” Santiago said.

It’s a stigma educational and building experts want to change.

“For a lot of kids and even adults who don’t see themselves educationally going to college. And they just want to work with their hands. this is a viable option,”  said Doug Edmonson, the CTE Director at the Mead School District.

Trade careers are looking for all sorts of people. There are a lot of jobs people don’t even know are out there.

“I didn’t even know that was a craft. I didn’t know that I could have a career in this and make really good money doing it. we have to show them,” said Vice President for Member Services, Associated Builders and Contractors Sarah Cottam.

Now, Santiago is showing us what it means to do something that sets your soul on fire. She said she can do whatever she puts her mind to and so can anyone else.

“Once you find something that you’re passionate about and you go for it and just get into it, it’s life-changing,” Santiago said.

She hopes the narrative changes so more people can get their hands on a career they love.

Santiago said her starting salary is higher at her welding job than she her final salary at the job she was doing before for five years.

The event at Mead High School goes until 8 p.m. Wednesday and is free for everyone. Anyone who couldn’t make it out can learn more about trade opportunities on Associated Builders and Contractors’ website.