Garrett seniors express interest in apprenticeship program

January 25 16:48 2019 Print This Article

About 20 seniors from Garrett Academy of Technology attended a briefing about the 327 Careers apprenticeship program Friday. The program is based on the nationally-recognized Homebuilders Institute pre-apprenticeship certification training (PACT) curriculum. The 16-week program will be available to graduating high school seniors in 2019. Participating graduates will receive two weeks of life skills and safety training, followed by 14 weeks with a partnering employer in the building trades, during which they will be paid $10 per hour. They will all be supported by a career coach. There are 10 trades included in the initial apprenticeship offerings, including HVAC (heating and air conditioning), electrical, solar installation, and plumbing. Graduating seniors may apply for the apprenticeship program on the 327 Careers website.

Debbie Reese, one of the founders of non-profit 327 Careers, told the Garrett seniors that there is a big distinction between a job and a career. A Garrett student stated that careers offered advancement opportunities and employee benefits. Reese informed the students that 70% of construction firms have reported staffing shortfalls. There are an estimated 36,000 jobs available in the Lowcountry without qualified applicants. She added that journeymen in the skilled trades can earn more than $100,000 per year. 327 Careers plans to make presentations to most area high schools during the remainder of the school year.

Chad Vail, the Charleston County School District’s (CCSD) Work-based Learning Partnerships Coordinator, told the students that they control their own destinies. He emphasized that participation in the apprenticeship program would open the door for high-paying, rewarding careers. All CCSD students in the Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs are completing employability modules, which document proficiencies for entry-level jobs. The CTE programs also offer opportunities for students to visit job sites to help them identify career fields that interest them. The district maintains the website CharlestonEmpowered.com, which informs students and parents about opportunities in 16 career clusters and summer career preparation programs, many of which provide compensation.