Many Continuation High School students have a desire to quickly enter the workforce after graduation to provide for themselves and their families. Therefore, it’s important for us to provide pathways to both college and careers for our students. While college is the right pathway for many students, others are interested in entering the trades. 

Did you know that the U.S. has been experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople for many years. For example, according to numbers from the National Electrical Contractors Association, 7,000 electricians join the field each year, but 10,000 retire.

If you have a few minutes to spare, this segment from the PBS News Hour gives an excellent overview on the state of trades in the U.S. and the opportunities available for those who enter trades. At Sharefest we believe trades offer many of our students the kind of opportunities they need to overcome barriers and break the cycle of generational poverty in their families. That’s why we are laying the foundation for and launching our Workforce Development Program.

As part of the beginnings of our Workforce Development Program, we invited some of our partners in the trades to come talk with our Continuation High School students. We were overwhelmed by the response and have a waiting list of partners for future trades events with our students. 

Last month, Local 1309 joined Sharefest’s College Access classes in all 5 of our partner schools to discuss trade jobs and unions. Local 1309 is an industrial construction union. They have been partnering with LAUSD for over 7 years.  For students who are interested in the trades, they can join their STAR Program. After the STAR program, graduates have the option to join an apprenticeship program to join the union. Local 1309 plans to stay connected with our Instructor-Mentors and offer support to students interested in joining the apprenticeship program after graduation.

The feedback we received from the students was very positive. It shows us that our decision to invest in a Workforce Development Program is the right decision. We are excited to continue to deepen our partnerships with local trade organizations and build bridges of opportunity for our students. 

Here are a few highlights from the letters our students sent to Local 1309 after the presentation: 

I just wanted to take the time and thank you for coming and taking the time to help us out. The information you guys shared was wonderful. The help and support you guys give is an opportunity that we high school kids don’t get, I am interested in working and moving forward with this company. Thank you for your time. It was really appreciated. Have a wonderful rest of your day!!!!!!. – JB

Thank you for coming into our zoom class and giving us free information about what you guys do. It was interesting and I’ll for sure have you guys as one of my options after high school! Have a great day! – KL

Thank you for coming in to speak to our class. The information you provided was very useful and eye opening many students are now considering joining the program. Your words have opened a new door of opportunity. Thank you once again. – AP

Thank you for taking time out of your day and coming to our class and speaking to us. I was very interested in what you were talking about. As you were speaking it taught me a lot and I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity. – BH

I really enjoyed when you guys came to speak to us it was very interesting and you kept my attention the whole time. I really appreciate you taking the time to come speak to us students. I love knowing I have options for my future and getting to learn more about those options. So again, thank you for your time and encouraging words. – DE

Thank you guys so much for the presentation and the information about trade school. You guys really gave me an idea on what to look out for and ideas on what I want to do after highschool. I will for sure be looking into trade school. – AR

If you are interested in learning more about our Workforce Development Program, click here and let us know! We love our relationships with our trade partners and look forward to building more as our program expands.