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In Iowa: Apprenticeship Program Gives High School Students Job Training ‘While They’re Still In School’

Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019
by Mary Green/KCRG-TV
In Iowa: Apprenticeship Program Gives High School Students Job Training ‘While They’re Still In School’

(MANCHESTER, IOWA) - Seven students at West Delaware High School in Manchester are taking part in a new program that will help fill local job openings.

This is the first year West Delaware students are working Welding Apprenticeships at three companies within the county, Paladin Attachments, XL Specialized Trailers and Henderson Products.

The students recently held a signing-day ceremony to celebrate this next step.

“I’m always proud of them,” said Seth Harms, who teaches welding classes at West Delaware. “They worked hard today.”

Junior Kaden Baldwin was one of the students to sign on with Paladin.

He doesn’t have plans to go to college, at least for now.

“I’m not a big fan of being in debt, so I was thinking of other ways, and not everyone has to go to college, and this is a great opportunity for me,” he said.

Apprentice Students still attend their regular classes at West Delaware, but they also work about 15 hours a week as Welders.

“They’re going to start doing the most simplistic products first.  As their skills grow, their responsibilities grow and they’re going to continue to work into more and more difficult product,” Paladin Human Resources Manager Tim Guyer said.

Guyer said there is a nationwide welder shortage right now, so his company and others are looking for qualified Employees to fill those slots.

“We have the business,” he said. “Northeast Iowa can continue to grow.  We need the Skilled Trades Workforce in order to continue with that growth.”

Through the program, students also gain valuable mentors.

“It’s a great opportunity for my students because they can learn a skill, learn a trade from individuals who are very well trained,” Harms said.

All three companies taking on Apprentices are filling positions right within Delaware County.

For Baldwin, there’s extra value in staying close to home - he’ll be working alongside his best friend, Jake, who also signed with Paladin.

“Well, maybe we can carpool - save on diesel,” Baldwin joked.

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