Home and Garden Show offers resources for both property owners and those seeking work | Columbia Business

COLUMBIA — The Carolina Classic Home & Garden Show adds a new wrinkle for its 55th year: a stronger emphasis on bringing workers into the building trades.

The event, set for May 21-23 at the State Fairgrounds, will feature more career education than ever before, including the Be Pro Be Proud truck.

The 53-foot truck trailer offers mobile exhibits including simulators with virtual reality headsets that are designed to let young people get an idea about a range of technical trades. Tasks that can be simulated on the truck range from operating heavy equipment to welding. 

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The truck was launched last year by a coalition of companies in the transportation and building industries with state support, with the goal of encouraging interest in skilled trade jobs, especially among young people.

Those seeking work should expect to do more than just visit the truck, however. With workers in high demand, exhibitors in the event will be looking to talk with those who are looking for work, said Earl McLeod, director of the Building Industry Association of Central South Carolina.

“We advise people to bring resumes and be ready to interview,” McLeod said.

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Admission to this year’s show is free, which should encourage those interested in trade jobs to attend.

Of course, the show also will bring potential customers together with builders and renovators to see what’s new in home construction, as it has done for years.

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Demand for trade services is very high right now, so high that a few potential vendors didn’t see a need to be at the event this year, McLeod said.

Possible customers who have been hunting to find someone with capacity for a project, however, should find that the show has brought together companies that are looking to set up more work this year, he said.

The show has been rescheduled from earlier in the spring because of Covid-19 concerns and will observe social distancing for safety.