TCTC’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program Builds Carpentry Skills Business Journal Daily

LORDSTOWN – The smell of fresh sawdust and the sound of hammering were once common in Trumbull County high schools, where carpentry was taught.

Now students across the county will once again have the opportunity to learn the skills of the trade through the Education Extension Pre-Apprenticeship Programme.

James Rook, curriculum supervisor at the Trumbull County Educational Services Center, said he was one of the students at his school who took a shop class, but those programs have disappeared over the years.

“We’re looking to bring it back, especially for school districts that can’t afford it,” Rook said. “What we’re trying to do here at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center is to help provide that to school districts, so kids can come to our program at a brand new facility, where they can learn these trades and get a head start. .”

With renovations now complete, the Trumbull County Educational Services Center is ready to open the doors to the new Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Program, housed in the former Gordon D. James Career Center at 1776 Salt Springs Road in Lordstown. TCESC celebrates the opening of the school with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Tuesday.

The first class of 25 juniors from four high schools will begin the two-year program this fall, although there is room for additional students. Skills to be taught include the operation of hand tools and other equipment, as well as safety standards.

There are approximately 25 workstations in the classroom, equipped with the tools and supplies needed to complete each project. Students will start with a birdhouse project and can gradually build a picnic table and Adirondack chairs.

In addition to career coaching and free tuition, students can receive industry-recognized 12-point degrees and diplomas.

By staying at their secondary school for part of the day, students will stay connected to friends and other school activities. Rook said the school recognizes the importance of students staying connected to their schools.

“We tried to balance and do the best of both worlds, where they can still get their credit and attend traditional high school and then excuse themselves and come work with us,” Rook said.

The program was open to all school districts in Trumbull County aligned with the Educational Service Center, Howland, Niles, Lordstown and Girard sending students for this school year.

Renovating classroom space and much of the equipment, including Chromebooks, for students was purchased with $300,000 in grants from the Ohio Department of Education. Additional tools were purchased through a $25,000 partnership with Lowe’s.

Rook said Mike Coates Construction of Niles did an “excellent” job of renovating the building and Howland Alarm installed the security devices and software.

“We’ve really tried to work with area businesses so everyone has a helping hand in trying to support all of the students in Trumbull County,” Rook said. “They did a great job and went above and beyond, so we owe them a lot of respect, generosity and goodwill.”

Upon successful completion of this program and graduating from high school, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Ohio Joint Carpenter Apprenticeship and Training Program through the Northern Carpenter Training Center -eastern Ohio. Working out of Richfield’s office, students would be paired with a qualified carpenter for on-the-job training, as well as additional classroom training in a necessary area.

Although the majority of new carpenter apprentices come to the training center with no experience, Aaron Gunderman, the training center’s regional coordinator, said students who come with pre-apprenticeship training get direct entry into the program. Plus, any skills and safety training puts them a bit ahead in the curriculum.

The apprenticeship is a four year program with 17 weeks in the program with one week in class every four months. The rest of the time, journeyman learning allows participants to earn a salary while learning.

Gunderman says carpentry union members can earn good wages, with pensions and health care.

Construction trades are ranked sixth on the Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation’s list of best jobs, while carpenters are ranked 26th. The median salary for a carpenter is $50,000 with 26,000 employed in the field across the state and nearly 3,000 openings.

With retirements and many construction jobs slated for the future, Gunderman said it was important to train the next generation.

Through apprenticeship programs, experienced carpenters mentor the carpenters of tomorrow.

Rook says he would like to see high school students benefit from the experience already gained in the local community.

“We hope a big part of our program will also involve bringing real employers and trades people into the classroom to speak with students about their positions and experiences,” Rook said. “That way students can actually see and talk to someone who has been through this. We are always looking for new partnerships and hope this will be a great program for everyone.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

Ryan H. Bowman