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Motivating the future of transport

As the need for workers continues, companies and colleges are working together to secure the employees of the future.

SCRANTON, Pa. — When William Bochicchio, the general manager of Five Star Equipment in Dunmore, thinks about all the hiring he needs to do, he gets a pit in his stomach.

"It just seems like the skills gap today, it just continues to get deeper and deeper."

The pandemic didn't help, and with an infrastructure bill expected from Washington, companies such as Five Star that sell and repair heavy equipment are planning ahead to scoop up new employees.

"We would take the time with just one kid because it's just one of those things where I don't think we do a great job of promoting the industry," Bochicchio said.

Enter Chris Guza and Troy Venesky—high school students from Lackawanna County who make up a small but mighty group from a state-funded professional automotive program this summer.

"I always like to fidget with my hands, get dirty, all those kinds of things," Guza said.

Instead of sitting on those hands this summer, they're getting experience in a possible career path.

"If I'm really good at this, I'll try this out," said Guza.

For the past two weeks, Professor Mark Kozemko of Johnson College in Scranton has been teaching the boys all about the automotive industry. He hopes to see them back here in a few years when they graduate high school.

"Oh, my goodness, the opportunities are immense. We get calls every day. I wish we had the enrollment for all the calls that we get," Kozemko said. "There aren't as many inbound employees in our transportation industry as outbound employees."

They'll be needed to help dig the industry out of its hole.

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