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An Education in the Trades

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Did you know the number of students that choose trade school after graduation over traditional colleges is increasing? Vocational education provides career-focused training for in-demand fields, such as plumbing, cosmetology, and mechanics, which can be a practical choice for many. Additionally, trade schools offer shorter completion times and less expensive tuition rates.

Despite these significant benefits, many students are unaware of the opportunities. Communities In Schools of Eastern Pennsylvania’s Kristen Hackman, site coordinator for Eyer Middle School in East Penn School District, wanted to ensure students explored alternatives to higher education. She hosted a four-week program with Rob Franklin, training director and safety representative for IBEW Local 375, introducing 7th and 8th-grade students to trades that best suit their skills and interests.

“The IBEW Trade Program reinforces that students have other post-graduation options, and trade schools are strong options instead of colleges or universities,” said Kristen. “It was great to watch students uncover hidden interests that they could transform into a long-term career.”

Fifteen students attended the program in Fall 2021. Fourteen boys and one girl engaged in hands-on activities that focused on electrical trades, such as splicing wires and bending pipes, instead of sitting in their ninth-period study hall. If students expressed interest in other professions, Rob would answer all their questions.

Students appreciated having the chance to expand their possibilities and plan for their future. Other schools may begin their own IBEW Trade Program thanks to the program’s success! Eyer Middle School plans to host a second program session in spring 2022.



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