King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove this week secured $250,000 in funding for pre-apprenticeship programs at Highline Public Schools, laying the groundwork for young people to get into high-demand, high-paying trades careers.

Approved as part of the 2021-22 King County budget, the funding will be used to set up programs with the district’s Career and Technical Education program and will help further the county’s Priority Hire efforts. Another $250,000, will fund a similar program by the Federal Way School District, reflecting an overall investment of $500,000 in trades programs for South King County youth.

“We know that if we give our youth the opportunity to follow a career path that interests them, they will succeed,” Upthegrove said. “The economic challenges we face right now are felt especially hard in South King County and I want to ensure that young people have a future with the building trades as things improve. I am proud of working with local unions and their leadership to make this a reality in South King County.”

The programs will provide students interested in going into the building trades with skills and knowledge to prepare them for success when they eventually enter standard apprenticeship in any of the various trades.

“We are grateful for this funding and excited about the opportunity it gives our students to pursue learning after high school that leads directly to good jobs in the trades,” said Susan Enfield, superintendent of Highline Schools. “This is perfectly aligned with our promise to know every student by name, strength and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose.”

Programs at the schools will work in coordination with local trade unions to ensure students are on track for the career paths they wish to pursue.

“Laborers Local Union 242 recognizes the importance of graduating career-ready from high school,” said Dale Cannon, secretary and treasurer with Laborers Local 242. “With the guidance of industry professionals, the completion of a trades-related pre-apprenticeship program, will provide our youth with the skills necessary to build a career in the construction industry. We look forward to working with the school districts as they implement pre-apprenticeship programs.”

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