As we look toward economic recovery following the COVID-19 shutdown, one of the focuses of our efforts is around workforce development. Ensuring that we have appropriate workforce training programs is essential to the strength and resilience of our economy. The Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) Program has been operating for a year now and I am excited to share some updates from the program and the opportunities for our youth in advancing their careers. 

By way of a brief introduction, the RAP Program is a pre-apprenticeship program located at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and is open to students across Snohomish County. The program is a product of great collaboration between labor, industry, and education partners in an effort to prepare and train the next generation of workers in the building and construction trades. 

Upon completion of the program, students can receive their high school diploma, college credentials from Everett Community College, and pre-apprenticeship certification. The curriculum was developed with input from industry and apprenticeship experts to ensure that the subject matter is relevant and applicable in the real world. In the program, students get a combination of traditional classroom instruction and hands-on learning to hone in their skills. 

The program wrapped up its first year of instruction in June and graduates from the program are already seeing the benefits of their training. Seniors who completed the program are moving on to their own career starts with the sheet metal workers, operating engineers, carpenters, elevator constructors, electricians, bricklayers, Boeing, a local granite quarry, and the United States Army. Many students have said that the training and career exploration in the RAP Program helped guide their post-high school path.

In addition to hard skills needed in the building and construction industry, the RAP Program offers crucial training in safety and first aid. Students participating in the program receive certified training in OSHA workplace safety as well as CPR/AED training. These soft skills and knowledge help students enter the workplace ready to keep themselves and their co-workers safe on the job.  

Through the partnership with Everett Community College, an employment readiness coach works with each student to develop a resume and cover letter, learn interview techniques, and make connections with prospective employers. This additional support has helped students enter the professional world equipped to find and maintain gainful employment. 

The RAP Program has formalized partnerships with over eight local certified apprenticeship and training programs. The success of the program and these partnerships was recently recognized by the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council (WSATC). At their July 16th meeting, the WSATC formally recognized the RAP Program as a state-certified apprenticeship preparatory program. This means the Program meets a high standard of instruction and structure to prepare students for success in the building and construction trades. 

The 2020-2021 school year is shaping up to be a great continuation of this program and I invite anyone with an upcoming high school junior or senior to reach out to the program for more information about how to enroll. You can learn more about the program at https://www.msd25.org/rap-center.

Nate Nehring is a member of the Snohomish County Council and represents District 1 which includes Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Marysville, Stanwood, and unincorporated north county. He can be reached by email at Nate.Nehring@snoco.org or by phone at (425) 388-3494.

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