Courtesy photo of St. Helens High School

If you are graduating high school or tired of your desk job, WorkSource Oregon in St. Helens encourages you to stop by the apprenticeship forum at the St. Helens High School on Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m.

With baby boomers retiring in the near future, there is a need for more skilled trade employees, according to Youth Program Coordinator with WorkSource Oregon in St. Helens, Diana Nish. She is coordinating the apprenticeship forum along with Bridget Quinn from the NECA-IBEW Electrical, which has a training center in Portland.

The public, high school students from Columbia, Clatsop and Cowlitz, Wash. counties and Tongue Point Job Corps are all invited to the apprenticeship forum at St. Helens High School on Feb. 9.

According to Nish, there will be a presentation about ironworkers, carpenters, laborers, elevator constructors, electricians, masons, sheet metal workers and glaziers. All these trades will be present on Friday.

The apprenticeship forum is a place to discover that you can, without a college degree, get a high paying job. With an apprenticeship you will also be paid while you study and learn your trade.

“I think last year they topped out the journeyman for the elevator technicians with $50 an hour,” Nish said.

She said that this is an opportunity for people that are not specifically meant for a college degree, even though you can obtain an associates degree from apprenticeship.

Nish said that the presentation contains a slide to show interested people what it would cost if you go to college for four years and what you could earn in that same timeframe in one of the trades. In many of the trades you would be a journeyman after four years, Nish added.

“It’s not just for the youth. It’s also for people that have been out of school for a few years, which is really nice because it opens doors,” Business and Specialist with WorkSource Oregon in St. Helens, Karen Macfarlane said.

Just as with people applying for jobs, you also apply to be accepted into one of the trades.

Macfarlane said she recently spoke with a young man that had been accepted into one of the trades. She asked him how it happened and he said he was sitting in a room with a bunch of other young people, and the trades were there, but he was the only one asking questions and showing interest.

“By the time it was finished, those trades had his name and he was asked to join at least three different trades because of his interest in his questions,” Macfarlane said.

To be accepted into an apprenticeship it is an advantage to have volunteer experience and have done a pre-apprenticeship program.

“St. Helen’s High School for instance has a preapprenticeship program in their carpentry,” Nish said.

Nish said young people often get criticized for not going to college.

“They get criticized for not being able to get really good grades,” Nish said. She said it is an eye-opener when people attending the apprenticeship forum realize that what they can do naturally is important.

Nish said a person taking an apprenticeship program has an advantage when they are done if they do not want to stay in Oregon. “If they get these types of skills, they can go pretty much anywhere in the United States and be able to get into livable wage jobs,” she said.

Celebrity guests

“The Construction Department at St. Helens High School recently won a national contest for a video they submitted on one of the houses they are flipping, and the award celebration is also on February 9,” Nish said.

Kayleen McCabe from the DIY Network show “Rescue Renovation” and Tim Lawrence, Director of SkillsUSA will be at the apprenticeship forum speaking to the audience for a few minutes prior to the start of the presentation.


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