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