Carpenter's Union Program at Ralston High School guarantees career path after high school for students

Posted at 5:50 AM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 06:50:01-04

RALSTON, Neb. (KMTV) — Hands-on experience can be the key to college graduates getting a job. Some students in Ralston are getting the chance to get that experience at the high school level.

By the time a student graduates from Ralston High School they could already have a guaranteed job. Thanks to hands-on experience and an industry level education.

"I like just wood working and working with my hands and being able to see what I made and be proud of that,” said Ralston High School senior, Thredrice Jones. This class is all about building, it helps students work towards a career in carpentry. “It's been one of my interests just because I look working with my hands so much,” said Jones.

Over the past year Ralston has developed a carpentry career path program with the Carpenter's Union. The program requires students to complete three construction classes and then they receive guaranteed acceptance into an apprenticeship with the Carpenter's Union. "We offer two different pathways, one is focused more on the construction trades, one within manufacturing and there's a big demand in both those career fields,” said Josh Wilken, Career Education Coordinator for Ralston Public Schools.

Brandon Thoene is their teacher. “We talk a lot about safety, employ-ability and just learning how to use the main equipment after that,” he said. Lessons that give these students important real-world experience. “They are really hands on, they like getting their hands-on tools, and we try to get them tools in hand as much as possible,” said Thoene.

Students can start on the career paths as freshman. Thoene believes it's never too early to expose students to different opportunities. “Whether they are interested in pursuing this as a career or whether it's something that later on down in life they can make sure they are taking care of their own home,” he said.

Even Jones wishes he started the path sooner. “I think it's really great that they do that just because a lot of kids might not be sure exactly what they want to go into, so getting that experience here first can kinda give them a little insight on what it would be like continuing on,” said Jones.

Ralston High School leaders say they are grateful the Carpenter's Union is giving them the opportunity to teach its next generation of workers.