North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington students learn about trades

 

Christopher Andersson

Motor Trucks Inc. service manager Jamin Woody, right, talks about the modern torque wrenches that their company uses with Arlington high school student Carson Raines at the Arlington School District's Skilled Trades event on May 2.

Arlington students learned about career opportunities around the area as part of the district's second annual Skilled Trades event.

A total of 31 businesses and organizations came out to Arlington High School's parking lot on May 2 as part of the event.

Those included the likes of Barnhart Crane, who brought one of their construction cranes, Universal Aero, Sammamish Landscape, Freightliner Northwest and STIHL Northwest.

The Skilled Trades event came out of an idea that happened last year, said Collin Nelson, one of the main organizers of the event and an Arlington middle school teacher.

"Last year we had a company that just wanted to bring a truck in just for kids to see. That sparked a discussion about 'well, why don't we just make this into a full-blown day-long event,'" he said.

This year the event returned for a second year. Students from Arlington High School, Weston High School, Post and Haller middle schools and Darrington High School came out to the event.

Arlington staff hope that the event gives kids exposure to various opportunities for them.

"Especially our juniors and seniors, hopefully they are learning about opportunities for a job," said Nelson.

"Even though they're in high school they may not know what they want to do, which is fine, a lot of adults don't know what they want to do," said Nelson.

Arlington High School student Carson Raines said he enjoyed the event.

"It introduces the kids to actual companies and helps them get some experience. I don't think a lot of other high schools would offer something like this," he said.

The event also provides a variety of options for students who want to stay in the community.

"We just want them to know what's available in their back yard. We want kids to know you can still live in mom and dad's basement and get a good job at the same time," said Chris Whiteman, one of the main organizers for the event and a welding and engineering teacher at Arlington High School.

"They don't have to travel two hours to get a well-paying job or a career," he said

Nelson said that even if students are not looking for a job, they can find activities to learn about various jobs from the community.

"These kids get to sit in a large piece of logging equipment, so at least they get to experience that," said Nelson.

Students could get in the seat of a construction crane, help build some practice scaffolding or take part in other activities.

Last year the event had nine businesses, but this year there were 31 participating businesses.

"It's really cool. Last year there was like nine [businesses] and now it's like triple that amount," said Jeremy Howe, an Arlington High School student.

"We were very fortunate to have those nine companies. This year, though, you can see we have the whole parking lot full of companies," said Nelson.

Whiteman said that students stopped at all the organizations and businesses.

Christopher Andersson

Arlington High School student Sabrina Cruz is in a construction crane at the Arlington School District's Skilled Trades event on May 2.

"A lot of kids I've seen them come in and out, and I've seen kids at every single one of the exhibits so far. I always worry about this stuff and if the kids are going to visit each of these companies, but for the most part I've seen them interested in every person here," he said.

Out of the 31 businesses at this year's event, 14 of them were hiring for internships, apprenticeships or summer work, including Integrity Orthotic Labs, Precision Forestry Logging, the Washington State Patrol, Reece Construction and the U.S. Forest Service.

"Some kids were super excited to learn about these apprenticeships where they only have to spend five days in a classroom and then work in a field for four months," said Nelson.

Nelson hopes that the Arlington Skilled Trades event is something they can run each year.

"This event is going next year and we're already expanding. We've already had more companies contact us," he said.

 

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