U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen visited the Edmonds College Advanced Manufacturing Skills Center at Paine Field last week to see firsthand the second cohort of the Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program (CAP) completed their third week of the 10-week program.
Larsen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was joined by Edmonds College President Dr. Amit B. Singh and other officials in visiting the program, which recently earned the CAP formal recognition from the Washington State Apprenticeship and Training Council.
“This program is a demonstration of how a successful partnership between education and commerce can benefit our local communities, our residents and businesses,” Singh said. “We were honored to have Representative Larsen tour the program today so he could see the success firsthand.”
For Larsen, the visit to Paine Field is an example of the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act flourishing. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a historic investment that will modernize our roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, airports, broadband, and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program is a partnership between Edmonds College, the City of Lynnwood, Sound Transit, and several other partners that will help fill a critical labor shortage.
“We need to make sure there are people to actually build this infrastructure, now and in the future. That’s why a registered apprenticeship program like the one that Edmonds College has set up here at Paine Field to train the next generation of construction workers is so critical,” Larsen said. “You can’t build a new bridge if there aren’t people to build it, for instance. I’m really pleased that Edmonds College is working with the state of Washington to move forward on this program. This is one of many types of programs which we need,” he added.
The Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program at Edmonds College is in its first year. The first cohort graduated in fall 2021. The second cohort began on Jan. 10, 2022. The tuition-free Construction pre-Apprenticeship Program is available to local residents and is valued at $5,000 per student.
The tuition-free aspect of the program was a big draw for current student Holly Strack, whose diverse professional background includes most recently woodworking in fine carpentry, cabinet and furniture making after previously working in the restaurant industry.
“The program being tuition-free is a big reason I was able to join,” said Strack, who lives in Everett. “I have been getting by, but not exactly financially thriving my entire adulthood. Going to school has been sort of daunting to me because of the finances and rearranging my work schedule.”
Fellow student Sharaya Copas said that CAP has provided her with an opportunity to pursue a dream she never thought she would be able to bring to fruition.
“I’ve been interested in carpentry my whole life,” she said. “Being raised as a girl in Missouri, it wasn’t really a practical thing to pursue. It was kind of a dream I put on the back burner for years and I’ve always regretted not doing. Since I’ve had several months to think about my life and where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, I decided to take this opportunity to actually go and learn carpentry and construction because it is a good way to combine a bunch of my skills to keep building to where I want to go.”
Edmonds College is accepting registrations now for the upcoming CAP session, which runs from April 4-June 15, 2022. To apply for the program, contact Sheila Dersham at email@example.com or 425-267-5777, and fill out the College Admissions Application.