West Alabama students complete skilled trades apprenticeship

Skilled Trades of West Alabama hosts graduation for students
Published: Jul. 10, 2023 at 9:13 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A group of students in west Alabama are now closer to reaching their career goals after working with a local apprenticeship program that showed them activities they’re interested in that could also lead to good jobs.

Skilled Trades of West Alabama, a licensed apprenticeship program with the state of Alabama, recently hosted a graduation ceremony for students who completed its Jumpstart program.

“College is not for everybody. And, it definitely wasn’t for me,” said Arielle Nevins. “So, I was like, ‘I love working with my hands,’ like I said. Carpentry is something I enjoy.”

Teens train in construction crafts like carpentry, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing for nearly a month for free.

18 seniors who just finished high school graduated from the Jumpstart program. Skilled Trades of West Alabama recruited them from schools around west Alabama.

Rex Hare, the director of instruction, said more than 75 percent of the course is hands on.

Hare said more people are leaving skilled trades than coming into it. He and others hope these young people help fill the gap.

“You can take a student that knows nothing about construction and we run them through a program for four weeks,” he said. “They get OSHA 10 certification, LULS certification, and scissor lift, CPR and First Aid.”

A couple of students have jobs already lined up. Others could go into another apprenticeship program that takes them into the journeyman level of training.

Organizers are starting another Jumpstart class this week.

Anyone wanting more information on the Jumpstart program can call (205) 764-7709 or email chare@westalabamatrades.com.

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