Trade students sign, commit to youth apprenticeships

Published: Feb. 27, 2019 at 6:25 PM EST
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The first-ever youth apprenticeship signing at Valley Career and Technical Center was Wednesday in Fishersville, and three high school seniors committed to a program to continue their education in a trade.

Iliya Mezim, studying HVAC, and Hunter Fitzgerald and Chase Reed, studying precision machinery, were selected by their instructors for the program. They each already have a job in the field they study, and their employers are paying for their continued education.

Scott Gochenour, the director of adult education and apprenticeship, and the students agree this program will decrease the labor shortage and help them find a great career.

"It means a lot, get a lot of experience out of it. Get to learn a lot of new stuff" Mezim said. "It will help me get further into the industry, to get paid better, and eventually start my own business."

"Just the experience is really important," Reed said. "Just having a trade instead of always being pushed to go to college."

"It's going to help me out a lot, I'll know more information about how systems work," Fitzgerald said. "I'll always have a job in this trade."

Gochenhour said, "Anytime we can have a high school student that goes to work, then we're doing our part in shortening that gap that exists for skilled people in the trades."

He added that skilled jobs are a great career path to take with many students entering the workforce with no debt. He says it's extremely important to stress that trade jobs are a great option along with college as a career choice. There is a high demand for skilled jobs, he says, and the shortage of labor workers is only growing.