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Maplewood High School launches skilled construction career pathways program for seniors

Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 20:33:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In an exciting new development, Music City Construction Careers (MC3), in collaboration with Gear Up Nashville and Maplewood High School, has initiated a groundbreaking year-long pilot program aimed at providing skilled construction career pathways to rising high school seniors.

As part of this pioneering partnership, MC3 will be offering its nationally certified 120-hour Apprenticeship Readiness Program as a dedicated school day course for students seeking a direct route into construction apprenticeships after high school graduation.

Traditionally, the narrative for high school graduates has often emphasized the push for a college education.

However, the students at Maplewood High School are charting a different course by exploring alternative career pathways that lead directly to rewarding trade professions.

"The trade I want to pursue is becoming an electrician, a decision I made back in ninth grade at my previous school," shared Gary Mills, one of the high school seniors participating in the program.

Joining Mills in this vocational journey are his peers Traivon Webb and Maurice Savly, who have made the choice to bypass the conventional college route and opt for a career in the skilled trades.

Maplewood High School is preparing these students for their journey towards becoming journeymen in their chosen fields.

"What interests me the most about the trades is definitely the elevator union, which offers significant earning potential. I'm determined to build universal wealth for my family, and this opportunity aligns with my goals," said Webb.

This innovative program aims to introduce students to the numerous opportunities available in Nashville's local construction economy for young adults and guide them on how to prepare for immediate placement and success in local apprenticeship programs upon graduation.

April Gung, a specialist with Gear Up Nashville, said, "It's a comprehensive two-week, 120-hour program. We are essentially integrating this curriculum into the school day so that by the end of the academic year, around April, students will have their credentials in hand. We can then guide them to the union hall of their choice to apply for the paid apprenticeship program upon graduation."

Nathaniel Carter, the Director of Workforce and Employment for Stand-Up Nashville and the CO-coordinator of Music City Construction Careers stressed the importance of recognizing that not all students aspire to attend college.

"So, what are the other alternatives to show them that they can earn an honest wage, possibly even more than some college graduates?" he asked.

Just as the world needs doctors, lawyers, teachers, and accountants, it also relies on professionals such as plumbers, welders, technicians, and electricians.

The program's mission is to secure the necessary resources for students to access these valuable opportunities.

"Our goal is to provide our students with access to these resources, and we can see their genuine interest in pursuing this path," said Dr. Sonya Brooks, Principal of Maplewood High School,

These high school seniors already have their futures mapped out. Maurice Savly shared his aspirations, saying: "I want to own my own truck, and this program will help me understand how to operate it."

Right now the program is at Maplewood High School with the vision to grow to other schools.