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Waite HS opens Construction & Carpentry Academy

By La Prensa Staff

 

Latino and other students have one more education option at Waite High School, now that a new construction and carpentry academy has opened on the school’s East Toledo campus.

 

Toledo Public Schools officials held a grand opening event on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. The new academy houses 16 welding bays. All high school students are eligible to join the program, which offers training and internships in the construction, piping, welding, and carpentry fields.

 

Student Jesús Quintero joined the program during his sophomore year, but sees the conversion and expansion to an academy as an exciting opportunity to translate his work in school into a job opportunity in his future field.

 

"To me, personally, it means that even if you don't have a plan you can always look forward to coming to school every day and working and being taught trades,” Quintero said.

 

There is a large skills gap in the skilled trades in Northwest Ohio between available job openings and qualified candidates to fill them. Labor unions and construction employers have a huge stake in the success of training future welders, carpenters, and builders, so both groups will be active in making sure Waite students enrolled in the academy are prepared for the work world.

 

“It's really important that students know what's expected of them, what they need to master before they leave school and make sure that they have the right things in place," said Pam Mohler, whose job involves workforce development at the Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio. "Traditionally, we've received a significant number of great industry leaders out of Waite High School, so we are excited to see the program become more robust."

Most of the programs in the TPS Career Technology Pathway are two-year programs designed for juniors and seniors, but some programs at the Waite construction academy will include freshman and sophomores, too. Such programs are designed to provide students with hands-on experiences that can seamlessly transition to college or career, usually starting with an industry apprenticeship. The academy eventually will be open to all TPS students.

 

"Taking advantage of our labor unions here in the local area as well as opportunities that are existing with the whole revitalization in the City of Toledo and the continuum of its expansion, know that there are going to be ongoing jobs for our kids to be part of this build-out of the City of Toledo," said Dr. Romules Durant, TPS superintendent. "Our kids are prepared to do just that and so we want to make sure that they're educated here, to work here, to ultimately live here and to add to the economic stability here in the City of Toledo."

 

According to TPS administrators, career technology students in the district have a higher than average graduation rate compared to students in traditional studies, can qualify for college credit for some of their high school classes, and have the option of an immediate introduction to the skilled trades and employers who are looking to hire someone with their skills.

 

Waite student Danielle Briones, who participates in the program, explained how it works during the grand opening ceremony. She pointed out women who attend the program can show they have a place in the building trades, too.

 

“Just going after it and not being afraid because you’re just a woman and actually telling yourself ‘I can do this,’ and actually trying it even though males can do it,” she pointed out. “You might not be as strong as them, but just trying it and getting the feel of it. If you don’t like it, it’s okay to stop.”

 

Ms. Briones and classmates then offered tours of the new labs and learning areas within the Waite High School Skill Center to those in attendance.

 

 
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