New career center in Waterloo Community School District opens up apprenticeship opportunities

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - The Waterloo Community School district says its new career center offers 14 career pathways for high school students as well as manufacturing apprenticeships.

Through an agreement with the US Department of Labor, the school district is partnering with five local businesses for summer apprenticeships paying students up to $13 an hour. They will start during their junior year.

Students will have to go through training at the career center first. The $17 million renovated facility, located in Central Middle School, students the tools for hands-on training.

District leaders will start finding juniors and seniors in their advanced manufacturing classes who want to be part of the apprenticeship. They're looking for about 10 to 15 students. Leaders say this will help fill the need for skilled workers.

"As we know, especially in the skilled trade area in manufacturing, the average age of workers is getting close to retirement age,” said Jeff Frost with the Waterloo Community School District. “If we don't help fill that group that's retiring, these industries will be in trouble."

There's a chance students can get hired by the employer once the assignment ends. They can also get college credits and certifications.

School leaders say the district is the 14th in the state to sign up for the apprenticeship program. Eventually, the district wants to add apprenticeships for more of programs

Students from other districts and nearby private schools can also take part.