Ascension Parish students ready to enter workforce after graduation

Students welding at ABC
Students welding at ABC
Students learning electrical wiring at ABC
Students learning electrical wiring at ABC

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Some Ascension Parish students will be ready to enter the workforce when they graduate from high school. The school system has partnered with industry to train students in various fields of industry.

Every day several East Ascension High School students take a field trip. They head to an industry training ground in Baton Rouge known as Associated Builders and Contractors, or ABC.

Electrical and Instrumental instructor, Harold Bagley, is teaching them how to how properly wire a motor.

This is a three phase induction motor. It has nine wires coming out of it. Your primary wires are designated H. Your secondary is designated X," Bagley explained.

His classroom is set up to teach future electricians.

Dutchtown High School Senior, Destin Valega, is part of the Ascension Parish School System's new partnership with ABC that gives students a jump start on learning a trade.

"One of my teachers had talked about it a long time ago and did some stuff on the board and I thought it was interesting. So, I asked what I could do with it, and they told me this," Valega said.

The students can also try their hands at welding. The indoor and outdoor settings give them a chance to learn how to mold and safely secure their tools at temperatures that sometimes reach over 500 degrees.

East Ascension High School Principal, Traci McCordle, believes the program will put students in line for jobs right out of high school.

"They're high pay, high demand opportunities that are just not jobs. They're careers," McCordle said.

ABC Director of Education and Training, Robert Clouet, said students can expect annual salaries between $26,000 and $32,000 in their first year on the job.

"By the time they graduate they'll actually be certified. So, that makes them so much more employable when they get out of high school," Clouet said.

Valega is one of thirty Ascension Parish Students who is taking advantage of the unique opportunity.

"I'll get a job that most people wouldn't be able to get whenever they first get out of school," Valega said.

To qualify, students must be at least a junior in high school and be in good academic standing.

The program is paid for by the state.

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