Trades Tools for Students to Build Career Skills

It may be the end of spring break for most of the kids, but not for 20-plus students who were working and learning a new skill. At the New England Tradesmen’s Training Center in Hopkinton, the next generation of tradesmen and women are getting their hands dirty with hands-on opportunity. “I really want to be a carpenter. That’s my main focus,” said Eden Quintanilla-Richards, a junior at Waltham High School. Quintanilla-Richards is one of 22 area high school students who have been selected to participate in a program called Tools for the Trades. Sponsored by MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Region, children discover the possibilities of building their future with a career in the trades. “There is a job for everyone. Especially in this industry and I think it’s important to learn skills like this,” Quintanilla-Richards said. During the four-day course, students have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the construction industry while being paid for their learning. These children leave here with the experience of the trade union of workers, the union of carpenters, operating engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters. I mean, it just goes on and on,” said Jamie Merloni, executive director of the NE Labors Trust Fund. Exposing traditional high school students to these types of jobs is part of the goal. He is building a workforce to replace an outgoing person whose average age is 58. “There’s 10 years of heavy construction and freeways right here in Massachusetts. We are also looking at big projects in Suffolk Downs, in Allston-Brighton, there is a lot of work going on there with Harvard,” said Bob Bower of the Massachusetts AFL/CIO. For many of these children, this is the first time I have been exposed to this type of work. “I don’t know if you have to spend a lot of time in the business program to make a lot of money in this career, but I know now that you have to be really focused,” Norwood High School senior Abi McCloud said.

It may be the end of spring break for most of the kids, but not for 20-plus students who were working and learning a new skill.

At the New England Tradesmen’s Training Center in Hopkinton, the next generation of tradesmen and women are getting their hands dirty with hands-on opportunity.

“I really want to be a carpenter. That’s my main focus,” said Eden Quintanilla-Richards, a junior at Waltham High School.

Quintanilla-Richards is one of 22 area high school students who have been selected to participate in a program called Tools for the Trades.

Sponsored by MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Region, children discover the possibilities of building their future with a career in the trades.

“There is a job for everyone. Especially in this industry and I think it’s important to learn skills like this,” Quintanilla-Richards said.

During the four-day course, students have the opportunity to experience all aspects of the construction industry while being paid for their learning.

“These young people leave here with the experience of the trade union of workers, the union of carpenters, operating engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters. I mean, it just goes on and on,” said Jamie Merloni, executive director of the NE Labors Trust Fund.

Exposing traditional high school students to these types of jobs is part of the goal. It constitutes a workforce to replace a leaver whose average age is 58 years.

“There’s 10 years of heavy construction and freeways right here in Massachusetts. We are also looking at big projects in Suffolk Downs, in Allston-Brighton, there is a lot of work going on there with Harvard,” said Bob Bower of the Massachusetts AFL/CIO.

For many of these children, this is the first time they have been exposed to this type of work.

“I don’t know if you have to spend a lot of time in the business program to make a lot of money in this career, but I know now that you have to be really focused,” Norwood High School senior Abi McCloud said.

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