Tri County Tower Gives Students a View of Career Option

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – Tri County Tower LLC climbed into the eyes of Jackson-Milton High School students with a small display of a career in tower construction and maintenance.

Jackson-Milton High School invited Tri County Towers to present its business as a career option to students in the junior and senior pre-apprenticeship courses. The pre-apprenticeship course is a relatively new addition to the high school.

Students can earn pre-apprenticeship certificates for trades after graduation. Trades such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical will accept the certificates to go directly into apprenticeship programs. 

Derek Joy, a teacher at Jackson-Milton, instructs the pre-apprenticeship course, and it’s focused on carpentry. Students are learning to work with their hands and power tools for wood-building projects. Joy said the class is constructing a shed and building cornhole boards. 

Plumbers, electricians, iron-workers and carpenters have visited the students this past year. One of Joy’s initiatives with the course is to expose students to job opportunities they may have been unaware of or are underrepresented at career days for high school students. 

Demonstrations and exposure to different trades are vital to the kids’ interest.

“A few weeks ago we took them to the carpentry training center in Richfield,” Joy said. “We saw other parts of carpentry like pile driving and floor lining. After we left, I had several kids express that they would like to go into things like that.”

Lucas Kiesewetter and Elyssa Thomas visited Jackson-Milton High School to talk about Tri County Towers.

High school trade and technical centers such as Mahoning County Career & Technical Center and Trumbull Career & Technical Center are good resources for students who want a head start in their careers. However, Joy said the pre-apprenticeship courses are meant to maintain their home school environment while still receiving trade-focused instruction.

Tri County Tower was established in 2018. It focuses on constructing, erecting and maintaining towers in the Ohio area, as well as towers outside U.S. borders. Elyssa Thomas, a recruiter for Tri County Towers, said there is a need for young workers for trades, and visits to local high schools alleviate that need.

“There are always towers being built – especially in the cell world. There are old towers being decommissioned and new ones built to have TV, radio and cellphone services on them. It’s still an up-and-coming industry,” Thomas said.

Tri County Tower brought a sample tower part, a harness, some light bulbs and other equipment that climbers work with on a regular basis. Typically, a 12-foot tower is also present but was unavailable for this visit. 

Students were informed of job requirements and benefits. One must be 18 years old and have a good driving record. Wages start at $20 per hour, along with in-house training and certification. Traveling and an emphasis on safety and comradery with the team were some bonuses that Thomas pitched to the students.

Brant Simpson, a student at Jackson-Milton High School, volunteered to wear the harness as Thomas demonstrated it to the rest of the students. Simpson said he plans on pursuing video game design, but if that doesn’t work out, something like Tri County Towers would be interesting.

“It was a cool experience, and I learned about something new,” Simpson said. “I would definitely consider climbing towers in the future.”

Pictured at top: Brant Simpson, a student at Jackson-Milton High School, wears a harness as he hooks onto a sample tower part. At left is Lucas Kiesewetter of Tri County Towers.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.