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    Connecting Learning to a Future After High School: Students Network with Construction Professionals
    Posted on 12/11/2018
    Two people in hard hats talk at a networking event

    Connecting Learning to a Future After High School: Students Network with Construction Professionals

    Students from Franklin High School met with local construction professionals from the Pine Street Group at the Washington State Convention Center on November 29. The Pine Street Group properties consist of Pacific Place, Washington Mutual/Seattle Art Museum, and many more and is headed by Matt Griffin, principal and managing partner.

    He and his staff were in attendance to introduce students to careers in the construction industry in Seattle, speak about the growing job market in the region, and provide information on various careers that are available upon graduation. Mr. Griffin and his team led students on a private tour of the construction site expansion of the Convention Center in downtown Seattle.

    Seattle Public Schools offers students pathways into construction careers through Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. Students can take advantage of a wide variety of CTE courses that prepare them for careers in the construction trades or other future job opportunities that involve hands-on engagement. One such class, open to all students aged 16 to 20 tears old, is the Skills Center Construction Trades class, located at Rainier Beach High School.

    This class starts second semester (January 31), and runs form 12:45 to 3:15 p.m. every day. Students will be provided taxi or school bus service from their home school to Rainier Beach High School and back each day. The Skills Center Construction Trades class teaches students advanced skills that will help them prepare for a career in the construction industry while they complete a tiny home for a homeless village in Seattle. Students can apply for this course on the Skills Center website.

    CTE courses provide an avenue for students to explore different careers and pair it with their interests. Some students will use this free training to gain employment in the construction trades after high school, while other students may use their experience in CTE classes to guide their future career planning. Career Connected Learning Coordinators, such as Linda Filley-Bentley at Franklin High School have been helping students see those connections.

    Filley-Bentley encouraged Christian to join the field trip with the Pine Street Group. He is a senior at Franklin and has been a part of the drama club for the past three years and has a dual interest in theater and construction. He’s involved in doing a lot of the construction for the sets, as it gives him the space to create pieces that are used on the stage. “I like seeing the finished product and doing it with my teammates.”

    Christian is interested in pairing his love for drama and working with his hands. He plans to apply to the Cornish College of the Arts to study production and set design. Additionally, he is currently working on his application to the Rising Star Project with The 5th Ave Theatre, where students can explore careers and learn about the development of musical productions. Students will then bring a production to life at The 5th Avenue Theatre.

    Filley-Bentley also understands that college is expensive and not always the first option for students. “By introducing students to careers through CTE classes, they can learn about jobs available that can give them living wages.”

    Photo of student working at a wood sawJune Rapisura is a senior at Franklin and wants to enroll in a construction apprenticeship program after high school. He appreciated how the field trip with the Pine Street Group gave him a different perspective from other field trips.

    He appreciated how the organizers and the construction professionals present showed him the possibilities of what he could do in the future.

    Rapisura thrives in hands-on learning environments. “I try my best to be a good student. I’m not the type of student to be in the type of classes where it’s hard to explore hands-on learning. Losing points for not following a rubric isn’t something that happens when you’re making things. I like learning and doing with my hands. It’s on you, not someone grading you. You can say, ‘I created this by collaborating with myself and my ideas.’”

    As he plans his future, Rapisura is thinking about how to contribute and give back to his community, which is Beacon Hill and the South end of the city. “I feel like there is a lot of great talent, but it’s hard for us to evolve. We have a lack of resources, but we have all this space.” As he continued speaking, he expanded on his goals. “I want to create facilities for my community, a place where they feel connected. I want to give back and build community centers that are not crowded.”

    CTE courses in Seattle Public Schools provide a wealth of career-connected learning opportunities throughout the year for 7th to 12th grade students. In addition to school year courses for 16-20 year old students, the Seattle Skills Center also offers classes in the summer for incoming 9th graders to 12th graders in a wide range of career pathways. and other learning experiences, the district is preparing students for college, careers and life after high school graduation.