MARYSVILLE – Going to college is not the only route to a successful career.
There are a lot of high-paying jobs in trade industries for people who like to work with their hands.
The Marysville School District is trying to help those students through its new Regional Apprentice Pathways program at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Anne Carnell, RAP director, and Ryan Beatty, Career and College Readiness director, talked about that and other Career and Technical Education programs at a recent school board work session.
“It’s a jam-packed opportunity for kids,” Carnell said of RAP.
Students in the program – which include 13 from Arlington and seven from Marysville – not only get high school graduation credits, but also Everett Community College credits.
Already the 22 boys and one girl have made a wooden tool box, step stool and birdhouse. “They’re constantly working on the knowledge they had,” Carnell said of the progression of their projects.
Later on they will receive materials from the Low-Income Housing Institute to build tiny houses for homeless people at Magnuson Park in Seattle. “They want to give back to the community,” Carnell said, adding students will follow blueprints.
Carnell, who said Sound Transit donated $150,000 to RAP, said she’d like to partner with the vocational training center at Tulalip called TERO.
“Working together we can accomplish more,” she said, adding he’d like to see more minorities in the program. To help raise awareness and prestige of RAP and award the students, Carnell wants to have a “Trade Signing Day” in the spring – just like in sports.
“This opens doors for everything,” Beatty said of RAP.
Most of Beatty’s talk had to do with CTE. He said each high school has 10 offerings with about 25 kids in each class. Topics include, automotive, robotics, ROTC, aerospace, computers, food preparation and more – beginners to advanced. However, some of those choices may have to change because to get state funding the legislature may require that the class has a pathway to a career.
“If it’s not part of a pathway it could be a problem,” Beatty said. “It might be fun and popular but does it have a future?”
He said the district may want to start to shift its offerings.
“Does it do it justice?” he asked of classes. “Do we offer a healthy dose of whatever that pathway is?
Beatty said the biggest challenge is preparing students for “jobs that don’t exist yet. How can we prepare them?”
School leaders seemed pleased with the discussion.
“CTE time has come,” school board member Pete Lundberg said.
Superintendent Jason Thompson said support from local trade unions could help as the district attempts to pass a levy to build new schools. Labor has been pushing for a program like RAP for a few years because of a shortage of workers.
Assistant superintendent Scott Beebe said an agreement could be worked on so “our students could help build our schools.”
He added that it’s a shame that in the past students were basically discouraged from getting $80,000 a year jobs in a blue-collar community like Marysville.
“This has been needed for a long time,” he said. “The construction trades were like a black sheep compared with going to college.”
Also at the meeting, Randy Davis, president of the Marysville Education Association, presented a slide show on training some employees received at the Disney Institute last summer. The goal was to improve customer service at the district.
Themes of the slides included:
•Respect all people. All can be leaders.
•Exceptional service is about systems.
•Safety first for yourself and others.
•Be positive, listen and be courteous.
•Positive relationships include celebrating others.
•Have a growth mindset of continued improvement.