The Marysville School District, Snohomish County and many local partners are planning a center that will help students and young adults get into trade apprenticeships.
The Regional Apprenticeship Pathways Program has a planned location at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, however it still requires $1.5 million in funding which local leaders are requesting from the state legislature.
Once completed, the plan is for the program to accept students and adults from the north Snohomish County area.
“The opportunities from the apprenticeship programs are far-reaching. If we can help kids from Granite Falls, Arlington and Lakewood, as well as our kids, that’s a great opportunity,” said Dave Rose, principal of Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
“The program is going to be for a morning or afternoon, so a blocked period of time, with concentration on instruction,” said Donneta Oremus, director of career and technical education at the Marysville School District.
Oremus said that they have worked with local labor groups and unions on the essential skills which would taught at the program.
The plan is not to focus on one industry but give a broad brush of the trade options available for students, said Oremus.
Students would get credit and adults could get college credit as well.
The program would fit into the graduation requirements for high school, and afterward graduates of the program could be given preferential or direct admission into apprenticeship programs.
Some of the details are still being worked out.
“This is happening so quickly that we’re still working out some of the specifics, but it’s nice when you have a school board that will say ‘go for it,’” said Jason Thompson, superintendent of the Marysville School District.
Officials hope that this will provide students with a better avenue into trade labor if that is what they want to do.
“We have students that should have a better pathway toward the trades,” said Thompson.
Leonard Kelley, a member of the Snohomish County Labor Council and mayor of Stanwood, organizes Trade Up, a one-day program where students can meet with trade labor employees and see their options.
“I’ve gotten stories from parents and students that were absolutely remarkable and saying ‘thanks for putting this on,’” he said.
However, Kelley said that those were only one-day events and a regional center with a dedicated program could provide even more pathways for students.
Local officials said that workers tend to get into apprenticeships around 27 to 28, and starting earlier could help them.
“This effort really started with several groups coming together to address the issue of youth getting into the trades,” said Snohomish County Council member Nate Nehring.
The program is being worked on by Snohomish County, local schools districts, Everett Community College, local unions like IBEW Local 191 and IBEW Local 89, labor groups like the Regional Council of Carpenters and the Port of Everett.
The location at Marysville-Pilchuck High School is not currently being used. Officials said that it will need a lot of work to turn it into a center for the program.
“It will be a work-in-progress,” said Rose.
“I don’t see it as a fixer-upper — I see it filled with kids, filled with students from high school and college, and maybe having our trade partners coming in and doing some instruction so that our kids have that first-hand experience,” said Oremus.
The center would also be located toward the back of the school, with parking available, which means fewer strangers going directly through the campus.
“They won’t have to trudge through our campus because it can be accessed from the rear of our site and not really affect the way we run our school,” said Rose.