Greenville-based organization connects high school students with trades careers

GREENVILLE – As communities nationwide strive to solve workforce dilemmas, such as the Silver Tsunami, an innovative program in Pitt County finds unique ways to transform the workforce ‘artwork. Workers, a youth learning group, is changing the way high school students are exposed to non-traditional careers in trades industries.

“We are working to connect talented students to trades in industry in our region. This involves on-the-job training, an hourly base salary, opportunities for experience and career advancement, and industry-recognized credentials, ”said Simone Pate, who is the Learning Coordinator in workplace for Pitt County schools.

Interested students can apply for Tradesformers at the start of the eleventh year. They are monitored throughout the year and possibly invited to interviews with the organization‘s industrial partners.

“Once matched with a business, they can start working part-time as youth apprentices in their final year,” Pate explained. “Some even start the summer before the start of the school year because they are so excited to make money and start their training. “

Tradesformers serves as a liaison between Pitt County Schools, ApprenticeshipNC and area businesses. After graduating from high school, these students become apprentices and obtain the necessary certifications to further their careers.

“Tradesformers aligns with both our desire to begin developing pipelines of future employees and our efforts to diversify our workforce,” said Richie Shreves, director of human resources at Greenville Utilities Commission (GUC).

GUC’s Electrical Department is in its second year with Tradesformers. The utility company says the program has been effective in identifying students who want to become linemen. These roles are increasingly difficult to fill with qualified candidates.

“Not everyone wants to go for a four-year course and that’s honestly a good thing,” Shreves admitted. “It is important that everyone recognizes the value and importance of careers in the trades to the continued success of our community and society as a whole.

As a result of their partnership with Tradesformers, GUC hired a young apprentice for a full-time job as a third-class power lineman. This school year, they have two pre-apprentice linemen who will learn the basics of construction and safe work habits.

“We are so lucky to have Tradesformers in our community and in our high schools. This is a great way to show potential new businesses that we have a young and skilled workforce who are interested in working and building a career in various fields such as construction, manufacturing and maintenance, ”said Uconda Dunn. , vice president of business. development for the Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance.

In terms of economic development efforts to attract new businesses and retain existing businesses, this is a win-win approach to establishing a skilled workforce.

“Employers win because they are matched with enthusiastic students who want to work and students win because they receive the resources and training they need to launch their careers right out of high school,” said Dunn said.

The program is proving successful for businesses that need to hire skilled workers as they seek to expand or fill positions left vacant by retirees. Pate recommends that other communities consider this type of partnership program if their local industries are struggling to fill positions.

“It bridges the gap between students who don’t want to pursue a four-year degree and large skilled trades employers looking to hire employees for life,” said Pate. “By offering this program to students, it helps them stay on track to graduate from high school, gain valuable education, and help grow the local economy.”

Tradesformers is currently recruiting additional industrial partners to meet the demand of students who want to become youth apprentices in Pitt County. Click here to learn more.

* Greenville Utilities Commission is a financial partner of the Greenville Eastern North Carolina (ENC) Alliance

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