250 Enroll in First Class of Pre-Apprenticeship Program

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Some 250 area high school students are taking their first steps toward earning a pre-apprenticeship certificate with industry credentials, putting them on a path for a career in the trades after graduation.

Students from 10 area high schools comprise the first class of the new building trades pre-apprenticeship program offered through a partnership with the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, The Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania and the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio.

Participating schools include high schools in Sebring, Springfield, West Branch, United Local, Boardman, Brookfield, Warren, Austintown, Canfield and East Palestine, reports the ESC.

Students are currently being introduced to the trades as well as beginning instruction on tool and workplace safety, tool usage, materials, math for the trades and career pathways. Hands-on activities will begin soon.

In May, The Business Journal reported on how the program is changing wood shop at United High School. Building Trades 1 and 2 replaced Woodshop 3 and 4 at the high school, and early enrollment for the new trades courses has been “phenomenal,” said Principal William Young.

“It’s a significant increase over what we would have at that level: Woods 3 and Woods 4,” Young says. “[Students] are seeing this as something that will take them down the road.”

While the Building Trades program focuses on carpentry skills, the curriculum broadly covers plumbing, working with sheet metal, pipefitting, bricklaying, concrete and electrical. Students will learn the foundational skills that employers look for in apprentices.

Upon completion of the two-year program, students will earn up to 24 industry-recognized credential points through the Regional Council of Carpenters’ Career Connections curriculum, explains Rob Eggleston, lead career counselor at the ESC. Graduating seniors will earn a pre-apprenticeship certification that qualifies them for entry into the building trades.

Many of this year’s students are seniors who will be ready to seek jobs in the trades this spring. All of the students will leave with Career Connections certificates and a pre-apprenticeship certificate.

To help get the program started, the ESC received a $150,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Education’s RemotEDx initiative, funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The dollars went toward installing shop space in rooms at the 10 schools for the program. Many of those schools also invested their own dollars into their respective programs.

To help get the programs going, the ESC is requesting donations of safety equipment, hand and power tools, fasteners, lumber and work benches. The lumber is particularly difficult to come by because of the skyrocketing cost of wood during the coronavirus pandemic, Eggleston said.

Volunteers also are needed to supplement the program from an education side, he notes.

Anyone interested in donating or volunteering can contact Eggleston at r.eggleston@mvrcog.org.

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Pictured: Brielle Rose, a senior at United High School, uses a jigsaw in the school’s wood shop. Rose is one of the first students to enroll in the school’s Building Trades pre-apprenticeship program.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.