The Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) program kicked off this year and students are already learning skills that can help them graduate and focus on their careers. The RAP Center is located on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus and the program is a partnership between Marysville School District, Arlington Public Schools, Everett Community College and other regional and state partners. The program was started with a $1.5 million grant from Career Connect Washington. The purpose of the program is to close the gap in skilled trade employees.
“There’s a huge need for skilled employees in our region and there’s about a 10 -year gap in apprenticeships,” said Arlington Public Schools’ Director of College and Career Readiness, Brian Long. “The average age of an apprentice is 27 or 28. This program is trying to provide the students with the necessary skills so they can become apprentices with local unions at an earlier age.”
Juniors and seniors in North Snohomish County schools can apply for the RAP program. Students learn the skills necessary to prepare them for apprenticeships in construction, electrical and labors trades. There are plans to include more trade unions next year.
Twelve of the 25 students in the program are from Arlington. Arlington High School (AHS) senior, Lesslie Garcia-Castro, is the only female in the RAP program. She discovered she really enjoyed the hands-on learning experience while taking the Construction Geometry class at AHS during her sophomore year. She attends the RAP program from 8 to 10:45 during the day and the rest of her day is spent in classes at AHS. Her goal is to become an architect.
“We’ve already built shelves, toolboxes and step stools,” said Garcia-Castro. “The program allows you to work individually and in groups. I’m happy that once I’ve completed the program, I’ll be able to show a future employer that I have the necessary experience and skills they’re looking for.”
Students who complete the program will receive a certificate as well as college credit through Everett Community College. It will help prepare them for careers in construction, electrical, and other pathways.
“We’re trying to fulfill the needs of the workforce,” said Long. “For instance, Sound Transit projects that are heading north don’t have enough skilled employees to complete their projects. We’re preparing our students who want to go into these fields with the skills necessary to meet that demand.”