Central Campus Expands With New Skilled Trades Alliance

Student doing a welding project

The new Skilled Trades Alliance at Central Campus will provide students with more educational and accreditation opportunities in school.

Des Moines Public Schools and Central Campus will expand its skilled trades programs beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, creating more opportunities for students seeking employment after high school. The partnership with construction industry leaders and labor organizations creates a Skilled Trades Alliance, with the goal of creating a model program of work-based learning with hands-on applications for students.

“As our school district works to become the model for urban education, we want to make sure all students are ready for their next stage in life after high school,” said Dr. Tom Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “This skilled trades initiative will help students interested in this work become ready for their future by providing the chance to earn the credentials to pursue good jobs after graduation.”

Six people holding an oversized check

Supporters of the Skilled Trades Alliance presented the school district with $1.45 million in donations and pledges in support of the new program.

Central Campus, working with community and business leaders, will increase its capability and capacity through a High Quality Pre-Apprenticeship Skilled Trades Academy in the fall of 2017. Students enrolled in the program will be immersed in job-embedded practices and internships while learning from industry mentors. The Academy will include industry-certified pre-apprenticeship curriculum and integrated mathematics, expanding Central’s school-to-work program while maintaining compliance with standard hiring practices of our partners.

Areas of study at Central Campus that will participate in the new initiative include homebuilding, painting and drywall, carpentry, electrical, masonry, concrete, plumbing, HVAC, welding and revit modeling.

Students in grades 10-12 are eligible to enroll beginning now for courses starting in the Fall of 2017.

In addition, Central Campus and the Skilled Trades Alliance members will be hosting a week long Skilled Trades Summer Learning Academy June 12-16 for students in grades 8-9.  The academy will be a hands-on camp for students to be introduced to building skills and create a project with industry leaders. Students and parents interested in this opportunity may call Central Campus at 242-7846. To register now, click here.

“It’s imperative that we work in partnership with industry leaders to prepare today’s work force. Our diverse students are passionate about work, earning industry certification, and gaining real world experience. These experiences will give our students multi pathway to economic success. We are grateful to the investors of the Skilled Trades Alliance for their generosity in paving the way for our students, “says Aiddy Phomvisay, Director of Central Campus.

Phomvisay noted recent local and national trends that highlight the need for a skilled trades education initiative in Central Iowa, such as:

  • A decline in the number high school graduates entering the trades over the past two decades;
  • National reports forecasting a 25% increase in construction job openings by 2018;
  • Retirement of the majority of tradesmen is predicted within the next 5-10 years

“Our battle cry is if we don’t promote our needs, who will,” said Gary Scrutchfield, president of Lumbermans Drywall and Roofing Supply and a partner in forming the new alliance. “Now that we have a partnership with DMPS, we feel confident that people will be excited about our industry for years to come and that will have the skilled labor required to build the communities of our great state.”

“The unemployment rate in our industry locally is 2.1%, and the average age of the workforce is over 50. The lack of trained workers is causing cost increases and time delays, both of which substantially impact home buyers today,” added Rachel Flint, vice president of Hubbell Homes, another supporter of the alliance. “If we can solve this issue and provide a solid future for our youth, with minimal debt, that is a winning solution for all.”

MidAmerican Energy has also been a key partner in the Skilled Trades Alliance, including the donation of equipment for use by students in the program.

Located in the heart of Des Moines, Central Campus offers hands-on, real-world work-based educational programs to a diverse community of learners. More than two thousand students from all DMPS high schools as well as several central Iowa school districts are enrolled in the school’s classes and programs. With partnerships between DMPS and community colleges, Central Campus students also have the opportunity to earn college credit and Associates Degree at no cost.

Skilled Trades Alliance – DMPS-TV