Not many high school sophomores are thinking seriously about career choices, but four Cambridge High School sophomores took a step toward their future careers by applying and being accepted into the pre-apprenticeship program at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 495.
Connor Myers, Callie Toth, Beau Stottsberry and Tyler Neil will join the program for the 2021-2022 school year. They join junior Kendyl Myer
Brister who will be entering her second year in the pre-apprenticeship program.
“I’m so excited that we have such solid students taking advantage of this great opportunity for their future,” CHS Career Navigator Lovel Quinn said. “We didn’t have any students in the program until this year, so it is exciting to see how the program is growing.
“Kendyl is doing phenomenal in the program and claims it was the best thing she ever did for her future,” Quinn relayed.
According to Quinn, only 12 students from the region were accepted into the program for next year meaning a third of the class will be made up of Bobcats.
“To go from never having a student participate in the pre-apprenticeship program to one student and now to four Neilis a huge accomplishment! These are very bright, high achieving students. I am so proud of them.”
The pre-apprenticeship program enables high school students to get a head start on the training required to become a journeyman in the plumbing, pipefitting, and welding fields.
Usually, a five-year apprentice program that you must be 18 years old to start, the pre-apprentice program invites juniors and seniors in high school to complete the first year of the apprenticeship over a two-year period.
The pre-apprentice program starts during a students’ junior year. They spend one day per week in training at the Plumbers and Pipefitters facility learning the skills that an apprentice in the traditional program would be learning in one year.
Because the training is done one-day per week during school hours, most students are responsible for making up the classwork they miss when they are at training. Students in the pre-apprentice program can still participate in the usual extracurricular activities like sports, band, or clubs.
The curriculum for the program includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training for safety, first aid and CPR, and is heavy in basic math early in the program. Students quickly begin the hands-on training learning to weld, thread pipe, solder pipe and other necessary skills. The hands-on training includes completing shop projects at the learning facility.
Students in the pre-apprentice program also earn college credit through Owens Community College. During the first two years, students can earn 12 to 13 hours of college credit in safety, math, and science.
Students in the pre-apprentice program are not obligated to complete the program after they complete their first two years and graduate high school. They can choose other options like going to college or entering the military.
The benefits for the pre-apprentice program are that the program is paid for by the school, students get a head start on apprentices joining the program after they finish high school, and when they are able to join the workforce as part of the program they make more than $3 more per hour.
“The Local Union 495 Plumbers & Pipefitters has the only true pre apprenticeship program in Guernsey County,” Quinn pointed out. “I appreciate what they are doing for our local students and I hope other area businesses look at them as a model of what could be.”