The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 612 and Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) have partnered with its charter, the Omak School District, and school districts across the state, to offer the new Operating Engineers Career Pathway Program to high school students.
This program gives students the opportunity to enroll in online elective courses that are designed to introduce them to the heavy equipment industry. Students also may have the opportunity to receive hands-on experience operating equipment at the Local 302/612 Training Center in Ellensburg, WA.
Pathway participants earn high school credit and are also eligible for apprenticeship credit after graduation. Students can remain enrolled in their local school while taking four, one-semester classes that cover topics from equipment fundamentals to grade and construction math. The online classes offer flexibility, and in-person learning events that provide hands-on experience and industry networking opportunities.
The program's success comes as companies report a shortage of skilled labor. And jobs in the trades have gained attention for being meaningful careers with good wages & benefits, without the need for burdensome college debt.
“This is an amazing opportunity for students to learn about this life-long career pathway, while still in high school,” said Susan Mouracade-Boyer, Executive Director of WAVA. “Students get job skills and a whole new appreciation for what it takes to get these important jobs done.”
“The state of Washington will always need people for skilled labor jobs. They are never going to go away. With this Operating Engineers program, we can get some young people excited about their future, provide them with skills, and hopefully move them on to high paying apprenticeships in this important field,” said Kevin Tedrick, Assistant Business Manager of IUOE Local 612.
Builders, contractors, and their industry groups have been advocating for this kind of early hands-on learning for high school students as a way to show them the great career pathways available in the building trades.
“This is a great opportunity for students to progress on their pathway to graduation and learn valuable skills to help fill family-wage jobs right here in Washington,” said Al Audette, Director of Education and Workforce Development at the Building Industry Association of Washington.
About Local Operating Engineers Local 612
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 612 represents over 2,500 members in Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, and Pacific counties. We cover all Highway, Marine, Heavy Construction, and Engineering projects including Mining, Drilling, Surveying, Utilities and Site Development. For more information visit Local 612.
About Local Operating Engineers Local 302
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302 represents all counties in Washington State except for those covered by Local 612 and 701 and also covers the entire State of Idaho. Between the two states, Local 302 has about 7,000 members. We cover all Highway, Marine, Heavy Construction, and Engineering projects including Mining, Drilling, Surveying, Utilities and Site Development. For more information visit Local 302.
About Local Operating Engineers Local 701
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 represents over 3,800 members in entire State of Oregon and the following area in the State of Washington: The counties of Klickitat, Skamania, Clark, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and that portion of Pacific County south of a straight line made by extending the north boundary line of Wahkiakum County west to the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. We cover all Highway, Marine, Heavy Construction, and Engineering projects including Mining, Drilling, Surveying, Utilities and Site Development. For more information visit www.iuoe701.com.
About Washington Virtual Academies
Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a full-time online public-school program of the Omak School District serving Washington students in grades K-12. As a public school, WAVA is tuition-free and provides families the choice to access the curriculum and tools provided by K12, a Stride Company (NYSE: LRN). Stride offers learners of all ages a more effective way to learn and build skills for their future. For more information about WAVA, visit http://wava.k12.com.