COLUMBIANA, Ohio – Ethan Davis came to the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center to study in the construction technologies class, wanting to learn framing and how to do floor plans. But he also has learned masonry, framing, plumbing and electrical work.
Through a work placement program, Davis gained experience with Sam Pitzulo Homes and Remodeling. Davis had an interview with Justin Rance, the business representative for Carpenters Union Local 171, and knew Rance was very interested in him coming through the apprenticeship program.
“I’ll be doing a lot more framing and finish work, and that’s what I want to do the rest of my life,” Davis says. His family members include carpenters, farmers, machining and welding backgrounds.
He considered going to college for architecture, but once he came to the CCCTC program, he learned he could get a free ticket into the union, do what he enjoys and not have the stress of student debt.
Rance says they have a career connections agreement with CCCTC, in which students who pass a state accredited curriculum get direct access into the apprenticeship program. He frequently visits and lets the students know about their four-year apprenticeship program, which is paid entirely through their union dues. Students go through 17 classes, gaining skills in a variety of areas, making them even more employable.
“We’re looking for the students who are most enthusiastic and show interest in this type of work,” Rance says. “Ethan’s already doing that type of work, so he’s just going to transition right into the carpenters union, and he’s going to have a leg up on a lot of other people and have success in this career.”
Chris Schreffler, Davis’ instructor, spent 21 years as a union carpenter, but he still tries to give students a well-rounded education in the skilled trades.
Schreffler also reminds the students they will have other options down the road, including going back to school, being with the union or even teaching others.
With the goal of seeing more students enrolled, enlisted or employed when they leave the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center, May 4 was Signing Day for more than 40 soon-to-be high school graduates. On Signing Day, seniors declare their post-graduation career path in a ceremony that replicates the day athletes declare what college they will attend to play sports.
Precision manufacturing machining student Colton Hickman decided to both enlist and be employed. Hickman has worked at Hall Industries through a student work program and intends to serve in the Army Reserves, as well.
“I enjoy going to sleep every night safe, and I think everyone should have that opportunity,” Hickman says of his decision to go into the military, which he says is something he will be a part of for the rest of his life.
Hickman plans to use his machinist and industry skills in the military.
Bayllee Dasher also plans to enlist. She is following her family tradition of serving in the military, which she says on her father’s side goes back to the Revolutionary War.
Dasher says military service is a career decision she made when she was 10 years old. Both of her grandfathers served, her mother is an Army sergeant and her father serves in the Marines, which is the service she chose as well.
Dasher is in the automotive technology program at CCCTC and plans to specialize in diesel tech in the Marines.
Following the same career paths as their family members is also the intention of two Beaver Local students who are studying welding at CCCTC.
Kaydon Bobby and Dylan Ferguson both have family members who work for Stevens Engineering, and that is where they committed to go as well, also through Carpenters Union Local 171. Ferguson says he likes variety and hopes to be able to do a lot of different things.
Jerry Anderson, the general superintendent at Stevens Engineering, says it is not unusual for employees to help bring other family members to work for the company. Anderson’s father, both of his brothers, his son and nephew all worked for the company.
“They don’t know what they’re getting into yet, but none of us did,” says Anderson, a CCCTC graduate himself.
Many students also were signing up to attend college, with a long list planning to attend Kent State University and some heading to Eastern Gateway Community College.
Onya Gishbaugher and Ava Patrone have been conditionally accepted to attend Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla. Both will start their classes online.
They have studied interactive media with CCCTC instructor Bill Oesch, with ambitions of studying game art and computer animation.
Pictured at top: Celebrating Signing Day are, front row: Justin Rance, business representative with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, Carpenters Local Union 171; Ethan Davis; Chris Schreffler, construction technology instructor.Back row: CCCTC Principal Jordan G. Williams; CCCTC student services coordinator Michelle Fitzsimmons and CCCTC Assistant Superintendent Jeremy Corbisello.