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New tuition-free program now enrolling students


Last updated 10/6/2021 at 4:43pm

Edmonds College is partnering with local governments and agencies to fill a critical labor shortage and provide skills training.

This fall, a new tuition-free construction trades pre-apprenticeship program will be available to local residents. The value of the 10-week class is $5,000 per student.

The first construction trades pre-apprenticeship program runs from Oct. 4–Dec. 17, from 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Edmonds College Advanced Manufacturing Skills Center at Paine Field, with plans to offer the program each quarter. Applications will be considered until Friday, Oct. 8 and after this date candidates can join a waiting list for a future cohort. Candidates can register for an upcoming free information session to learn more about the 10-week training program.

As a Sound Transit Board Member, Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith learned of the agency’s critical labor shortage and its urgent need to find skilled laborers in order to accomplish the aggressive construction timeline of the light rail system. With strong ties to Edmonds College, and her advocacy for Lynnwood’s diverse community, Smith held a brainstorming meeting.

“We have a local college that is agile and ready to serve, and we have many unemployed or underemployed people in our community that could benefit from skills training and support to start on a great career path,” said Smith. “This collaboration is a real win-win and I’m so grateful for the willingness of our partners to come together to support the needs of our community.”

Community partners, starting with Dr. Amit Singh, Edmonds College President and Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff, rallied to develop a new construction trades readiness program launching this fall quarter. This pre-apprenticeship program will give community members the skills and support to enter into the construction field through paid apprenticeship programs.

“As we help build the transportation system that will be the backbone of this region’s future, we know there’s an incredible opportunity to help build the future workforce that will be the backbone of this region’s economy,” Rogoff added.

This new pre-apprenticeship program will create opportunities for south Snohomish County community members, especially those who are underrepresented in the construction industry such as women and people of color, to begin careers in skilled construction trades and earn family wages and paid benefits.

In order for an individual to achieve journeyman-level status in construction trades, completion of a four-year, paid apprenticeship is required. For a variety of reasons, many individuals fail to complete their apprenticeship. A pre-apprentice readiness program can: introduce prospective workers to multiple construction trades; provide basic instruction and life skills that apprentices need to succeed; offer support services to vulnerable students; and offer direct or preferred placement into a paid apprenticeship.

Thanks to a generous contribution of $150,000 from Sound Transit, Edmonds College is able to launch this program which will offer many community benefits: the increased supply of skilled labor will support completion of light rail and other important construction projects; unemployed and under-employed residents can grow into high-paying, in-demand jobs; and the community benefits from an overall increase in wealth, training, and employment.

“We are excited to be working with the City of Lynnwood, Sound Transit and all the partners on this program. Together, we are leading the way to building strong and sustainable communities to insure our infrastructure for the future. We thank Sound Transit for the generous contribution. We are so proud to serve our communities through this program,” Dr. Singh added.

What is a Pre-Apprenticeship?

A pre-apprenticeship program is an extended onramp to signing with a local trade union as a paid apprentice. The process of getting into an apprenticeship with the unions can be competitive and comes with requirements that many need assistance to complete. A pre-apprenticeship is a structured preparation program to earn preferred or direct hiring with trade unions, and is particularly good for students that need a little extra support to compete for these jobs.

The curriculum for a pre-apprenticeship is built in collaboration with partner trade unions and the intention is for it to articulate into their apprenticeships. There are many trade unions that could endorse a pre-apprenticeship through articulation agreements: Carpenters, Plumbers, Cement Masons, Laborers, Electricians, and more. Salaries range from $19-$30/hour plus benefits.


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