The Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) program cut the ribbon on their building on Jan. 7 to celebrate the program moving into their permanent location.
The program, which is hosted at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and accepts students from around the county, is a collaboration between local schools and trade groups to provide more access to the trades for local students.
“A student who completes the RAP program will graduate with their high school diploma, a college credential which has been designed by Everett Community College and preferred entry into a state-certified apprenticeship program,” said Nate Nehring, a Snohomish County Council member who helped organize the program.
The program is meant to encourage students into apprenticeships earlier.
“We recognized that there was a need for a more seamless pipeline into the trades,” said Nehring.
“The average age of someone coming into these programs was 28 or 29 years old. And they are often not prepared for this type of work,” said Leonard Kelly, Snohomish County Labor Council Secretary.
Classes for the program began at the start of this school year, although the permanent building wasn’t ready yet.
Students who have been a part of the program helped cut the ribbon for their new classroom.
Bryce Peterson, a student in the program and at Arlington High School, said he joined because the benefits sounded good.
“I enjoy watching things come together, building things and problem solving,” he said. “In this class so far we have just been getting started, working on projects to build our skills so that we can eventually reach our ultimate goal of building a home for the less fortunate.”
Many joined the program because they didn’t see themselves in college or didn’t know what they wanted to do after high school.
“I love this program. For me, college was never a considered option,” said student James Davis.
“I wanted to experience what a trade school would be like and I think this is like a mini-version of a trade school,” he said.
Student Shawn McKinley said it came to a point where he felt he had to make a decision on what to plan for.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do last year. I was always good at this stuff because I worked with my uncle a lot, so when they showed me this program I was in,” he said.
He said he’s enjoyed being part of it so far.
“With this project I was the group leader. It gave me leadership experience and I really liked it,” he said.
The practical lessons were a draw for many of the students as well.
“It’s very hands-on and we have projects,” said Davis.
“I found great enjoyment from this program,” said student Jared Dixson. “You can learn at your own speed and not have to worry about what others think of your learning."
Marysville officials were happy to help support the program.
“We are very proud of the RAP Center. We’re just getting rolling with this and we’re just getting started,” said Marysville School District Superintendent Jason Thompson.
“I’m still sold that this is going to be a great program. Marysville School District is behind this all the way,” he said.
Executive Director of Education for the Tulalip Tribes, Rochelle Lubbers, said she was glad the program is in Marysville as well.
“As a mother of a student who graduated from M-P and later graduated from the Tulalip Vocational School and is now framing houses for a local business, I’m really excited for you students and the opportunity you have,” she said.