RALSTON, Neb. (KMTV) - Going to middle school is a big step for most students. They're in a new building, with new teachers, and may not know what options they have for classes or how those classes can help them in their future careers.
"They are coming in and learning all kinds of skills that might spark their interest in a career in the skilled trades,” said labor liaison Evan Schmeits.
"Bricklayers, their job is like really fun, but kind of hard at the same time,” added seventh-grader Alexis Norman.
Ralston Middle School is offering summer education on trades. They partnered with the Nebraska Center for Workforce Development and Education and the Omaha Federation of Labor to allow kids hands-on learning about trade work.
"This year we have the plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, steamfitters, sheet metal workers. Just a variety of trades that are going to be here over the next two weeks to be able to educate our students. A lot of different opportunities for them to see a variety of different trades,” said Dr. Josh Wilken, a career education coordinator for Ralston Public Schools.
Educators in Ralston want classes to open their student's minds to other possibilities for their futures.
"There is some algebra involved in some of these, like the electrician and plumber entrance exams and the steamfitter entrance exam. There is some benefit to getting to them earlier and getting it ingrained in their head that this is a viable option,” said Schmeits.
They also hope these classes make the female students feel empowered and know that going into a trade job is something they can do too.
"What we've seen from many of our female students is because they are so detail-oriented, and they become so open and excited about these different opportunities in the trades, is that they realize this could be a fit for them. Not only in high school courses, but after they graduate, it could become a career for them later on,” said Dr. Wilken.
"I think it gives us options,” added Norman.
Trade school teaches you a variety of skills that you can use in your everyday life as well.
"All of that can be applied in different areas of your life anyways, not just at work. That is super awesome for empowering women and just being independent,” said Madeline Greenfield, who works in trades.
The summer skilled trades classes are free to Ralston School District students and are running through the end of July.