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A regional workforce nonprofit recognized the Longview School District, contractor JH Kelly and the local electricians union for their “excellent partnership” in starting a high school pre-apprenticeship program.

The program, housed in the Mark Morris shop building, combines classroom instruction and hands-on construction projects with field trips to regional businesses, where students can interact with employees.

In the first two years of high school, pre-apprenticeship students take traditional courses in science, math and social studies, along with trades-based electives such as manufacturing, welding and pipefitting. Then in their junior and senior years, students develop their technical skills in more industry-specific coursework.

The Longview pre-apprenticeship program is in its first year and is open to all high school students in the district. About 30 students are enrolled. (The Daily News ran an article about the program after its grand opening in October.)

Workforce Southwest Washington — a nonprofit directed at improving the skills and education of the Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum county workforce —commended the pre-apprenticeship program for “helping fill a critical skills gap in our region while expanding opportunities for local youth to prepare to enter an apprenticeship or the workforce,” according to a news release.

The organization Thursday awarded the pre-apprenticeship program an “Excellence in Building Workforce Partnerships” award.

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In creating the pre-apprenticeship program, IBEW local 48 and JH Kelly helped Longview teachers design a curriculum that matches industry apprenticeship standards.

In addition, IBEW 48 provided sponsorship and recommendations on the class curriculum developed by the National Building and Trades Council in Washington, D.C. Due to the partnership and support of IBEW 48, Longview will be the first school district in Washington to provide this curriculum, according to the news release.

JH Kelly provided money to help the district upgrade its equipment and facilities.

“Business investment in developing and supporting partnerships to train the next generation of workers is key to the continued growth of our region,” said Workforce Southwest Washington CEO Kevin Perkey.

“Through the generous support and dedication of JH Kelly and IBEW 48 in this partnership, Longview students and the Cowlitz County workforce will be positively impacted now and in the future,” said Jill Diehl, Longview Schools director of career and college readiness.

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