School considers adding trade classes

Seymour students interested in a career in construction, building and craft trades may soon be able to get a head start on their futures.

By partnering with ABC Construction Prep Academy, Seymour High School is looking to offer more skilled vocational opportunities to better prepare students to obtain successful and higher-paying careers in the construction field.

The program will allow students who are currently being bused to the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection program in Columbus for similar classes to stay in Seymour, school officials said.

The academy is run by Associated Builders and Contractors Inc., a national organization with offices in Indiana and Kentucky made up of professional and certified men and women in the industry.

Catherine DuBois, assistant principal at Seymour High School, presented information about the academy to school board trustees earlier this month.

If approved, the program would begin in the fall of 2018 and be open to juniors and seniors.

DuBois said counselors will begin gauging student interest and recruiting next semester. The maximum class size would be 15 students, with 10 to 12 being a target number for the first year.

Currently, there are eight Seymour students enrolled in construction trades through C4, DuBois said.

The first year would combine book learning with hands-on experience through onsite lab work at Seymour High School and job site visits in the area.

Students would gain an introduction to the various trades available with training in operating heavy equipment, power tools, concrete and masonry, framing and roofing, carpentry, safety, welding, plumbing and pipe fitting, HVAC and sheet metal, blueprint reading, sprinkler fitting, electrical and interior finishes.

After successfully completing the first year, seniors can then enroll in a year-long Level I adult apprenticeship program in the trade of their choosing to begin work for their journeyman certification. Students would work with local contractors who are members of ABC.

“That will increase our students’ starting pay as well as their exposure to what is needed in the workforce,” DuBois said of the program.

There’s also an opportunity for students to earn a welding certification.

Upon completion of their apprenticeship, students would be able to go on to earn higher certifications or begin full-time work, DuBois said.

One of the benefits of the program to the school is that ABC provides the instructors and the school is eligible for state career and technical education funding reimbursement.

The program also would enable students to earn both high school and college credit through Vincennes University.

Trustee Jeff Joray said he thinks the program is something the community would like to see available.

“A lot of people have been telling us they want this,” Joray said of increasing the number of vocational and skilled trade courses offered locally.

“I think this would be a great addition to our school corporation,” Trustee Nancy Franke said.