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North Las Vegas students building a career in high school

Posted: 4:41 PM, Feb 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-02 07:33:47Z
Building a career in high school
Building a career in high school
Building a career in high school

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It isn't to the point where construction is being slowed down by the shortage of skilled workers in Las Vegas, but industry leaders are to get more young people into the industry.

To address the problem local companies are partnering with the Clark County School District to introduce students to industries where careers may not require a college degree - in a lot of cases that involves getting them into welding booths, auto shops, and wood shops.

"The baby boomer generation, with all this information and knowledge, is all retiring. We really need an influx of young talented individuals," Ryan Cogley, Project Director with McCarthy Building Companies said.

A survey by the Associated General Contractors of America shows 80 percent of Nevada companies had trouble finding enough skilled craftsman last year.

"We want to create a pipeline right from high school right into the workforce," Zeola Braxton, Assistant Principal at the Desert Rose Tech Center said.

The tech center inside Desert Rose High School is working to introduce students from five North Las Vegas high schools to construction through the wood shop and job shadowing program.

The school is partnering with the McCarthy Building Company, giving students a look inside big projects including the remodel of the Palms.

"You never really see behind the fence, so having them go in and see the massive scale of commercial construction is something they would never be able to do," Cogley said.

With projects like the Raiders' stadium and its Henderson headquarters under construction and the new Circa resort recently unveiled downtown it seems like there is plenty of work ahead in the construction industry.

While many students have their sights set on college, Braxton knows it isn't always an option and doesn't want the students settling for minimum wage.

"Due to financial responsibilities they do have to go out and work, but being able to work a job where you are making $45 an hour versus $9 an hour," Braxton said.

While some question the long-term outlook for a career in construction, those in the industry are quick to point out many of the superintendents on job sites started where the Desert Rose students are now.

"They graduated high school, they went into the trades and now they 20-30 years later they are leading hundreds of people," Cogley said.

Construction programs are offered at several magnet schools in Clark County.

What makes the tech center different is it doesn't come with age or GPA requirements.

"We want students to know you may have made a mistake in high school as a 10th grader but we want you to know these opportunities are available to you," Braxton said.

The early numbers show 98 percent of seniors in the program graduated last year and there is a 98 percent average daily attendance.

If you think your child could benefit from these types of programs, you can reach out to the district's Office of Career and Technical Education or you can talk to their school counselor about options.

What is Raising The Bar?

Together with parents, educators, business and community leaders, 13 Action News will lead the discussion on improving education in Southern Nevada. We will connect families with solutions that empower our community to build a foundation for a successful future. If you have a story idea, email us at raisingthebar@ktnv.com.

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