Golden Apple: Pequot Lakes High School Learns About Skilled Trades
“See what’s all out there for jobs and opportunities and stuff and what the requirements are,” said student Nick Jaovec.
Nine businesses from the Mid-Minnesota Builders Association (MidMNBA) spoke to about 35 Pequot Lakes High School juniors and seniors to educate them on a career in skilled trades.
“So we’re just giving them options and letting them know about what the industry has to offer,” said Mid-Minnesota Builders Association Executive Officer Colleen Faacks.
During the orientation Students were made aware that there’s an employee shortage and the industry is looking to hire people like them. According to the Minnesota Employment Economic Development, the construction industry in Northwest Minnesota is expected to increase by 14 percent in 2024.
“After the great recession a lot of people got out of the industry because there was frankly a lot of companies folded as well, so when those guys left they found other jobs and didn’t come back,” said Ray Austin, of Kuepers Inc. and president of MidMNBA.
The students were able to ask the business owners how they got their start in the business among other things. On average an architect can earn more than $30 an hour. The potential to make a lot of money has peaked the interest for some.
“Like you’re spending all this money on college but realistically you could just learn real quick and then you’re making a lot like a plumber,” said student Grady Faltegraff. “I was learning about that they were saying up to like $90,000 a year and that just blew my mind.”
A four-year college or university may not be a right fit for some students and that’s ok.
“You don’t have the debt that you get coming out of a four year (that you would have to get on a four year degree),” student Justin Gerber.
Each student has a personalized learning plan so they know their interest and they can eventually make a career out of it.
“When you go out find out what you’re passion is it becomes your career and it kind of starts to define you,” said Lavonne Murray, guidance counselor.
A job in the industry can also lead to independence by you being able to do the work yourself.
“Say you want to do some plumbing in your house then you don’t have to call the plumber to come to your house,” said student Tyson Kramer.
By the time students are in the 11th grade they’ve gone to at least two career fairs in the area to be on the right track.