Daily News editorial

Apprenticeship and Trades Fair

In last Saturday’s newspaper, reporter Zack Hale wrote about the Apprenticeship and Trades Fair at the Cowlitz County Expo Center.

At the seventh annual event, approximately 750 students were bused from 11 high schools from across Southwest Washington to meet and talk with trades representatives.

As more and more baby boomers retire from construction, engineering and manufacturing jobs, local trades and labor organizations are looking for the younger generation to help fill the growing skills gap, Hale wrote.

Local labor representatives at the event told Hale that young people fresh out of school can start earning a solid wage by participating in training programs that offer apprenticeships where they earn money while learning a skill.

“You’re certainly going to be making more than a kid out of high school who’s working at a movie theater or McDonald’s,” Deken Letinich, a representative for the Laborers International Union is quoted in the article. He noted that apprentices in the LIU program start out at $18.81 per hour. They also immediately begin earning pension contributions and family health care benefits, Hale wrote.

One rep, Amber McCoy, with the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, was at the event to reach out to female students. McCoy noted that although women account for 53 percent of the workforce, they only account for 1.6 percent of the workers in the construction trades. The PNRCC union has about an 11 percent female membership, she told Hale. Four-year apprenticeships are designed and marketed specifically for women. When they finish the program, they can make roughly $36 per hour as a journeyman. That amount increases with a pension and benefits.

Students at the event also were able to test their physical skills on an obstacle course and try out some equipment. The hands-on experience allows the students to get a feel for the range of options available for them post high school.

Thumbs up to the folks who organize this yearly event, to the trades representatives who attend and explain options to the students and to the students for being willing to connect with working professionals in the trades and listen to the options they are provided. Many students cannot afford to attend college after high school. Some may not want to attend college. Enrolling in an apprenticeship program gives them an opportunity to earn a wage while learning a trade.

College basketball

We learned this week the federal government has been investigating college basketball and has charged 10 men with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choices of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and even tailors, according to a Sept. 27 article in TDN.

The men are assistant coaches at Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and the University of Southern California. Two other universities were named in the complaints as “University 2” and “University 6.”

From the descriptions in the complaints, it is easy to determine that University 2 is the University of South Carolina and University 6 is the University of Louisville. These are schools that have national championships, hall of fame coaches, Final Four teams – basically, elite teams in college basketball.

In addition to the coaches, Jim Gatto – director of global sports for Adidas – and a few other people who either work for the company or are associated with it, promised at least three high school recruits as much as $150,000 to attend two universities sponsored by the shoe company, states the article.

These are serious charges. They include bribery, bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and more.

This week we also learned Louisville men’s head basketball Coach Rick Pitino is most likely out as head coach. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave “one day after federal prosecutors accused two unidentified Cardinals coaches of directing money provided by the school’s apparel partner, Adidas, to two high school prospects,” according to a Sept. 27 New York Times article.

This isn’t the first incident with Pitino and Louisville.

In 2010, Pitino testified in an extortion case where a woman asked him for money and gifts to keep quiet about an incident that occurred between them in 2003. A married man, Pitino had sex with the woman in a Louisville restaurant. While what he did is not illegal, it clearly is immoral.

In 2015, the National Collegiate Athletic Association vacated Louisville’s 2013 national title and dozens of victories after learning a coach paid for sex and stripper parties for players and recruits.

Experts are predicting the schools involved in the latest NCAA hoops scandal will get the “death penalty.” The death penalty is when the NCAA bans a school from competing in a sport for at least one year.

But we’re skeptical that will happen.

Penn State didn’t receive the death penalty after it was discovered Coach Jerry Sandusky had been abusing boys on (and off) the Penn State campus for years.

Other coaches knew about the abuse, including Joe Paterno, who was head coach at Penn State from 1966 to 2011. He reportedly was aware of it as far back as 1976.

So, if Penn State didn’t get the death penalty for such heinous crimes, why would the other schools?

It is time the NCAA cleaned house and fixed all that is wrong with college sports. There is a lot of good in the programs, but crimes like these shadow that good.

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