Training in skilled trades making comeback in Iowa schools

Monday, September 25, 2017

Zachary Hageman moves through the almost-done luxury apartments near downtown Des Moines and points to the studs and wiring, the drywall and cabinets.

The 18-year-old is part of the cleanup crew, an entry-level position that's part of a new school program designed to give hands-on experience to high school students and recent graduates.

Once unsure of his future, the recent North High School graduate now plans to become an electrician. It's an in-demand job. In Iowa, experienced electricians average $30 an hour, or more than $62,000 a year, according to the Iowa Wage Report 2016. 

That's more than the state's average wage of $20.12 an hour.

"I know what I want to be doing," Hageman said. In construction, at the end of the day, "you've done something that you can be proud of."

State and industry leaders want more teens to follow Hageman's lead into so-called "middle skills" jobs — those requiring additional training beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree.

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