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National Signing Day at CATEC Will Match Nine Students With Jobs, Apprenticeships With Local Skilled Trades Companies

DATE: May 6, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
PHONE: 434-972-4049

National Signing Day at CATEC Will Match Nine Students With Jobs, Apprenticeships With Local Skilled Trades Companies

(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Tune into any sports radio or TV show at certain times during the year and the news will be dominated by some of the nation’s most promising athletes signing letters of intent to join a well-known university’s athletic program. This is one of those times of the year when students are making decisions that will shape their future, but for them, that future is on a job site.

This Wednesday, May 8, nine students from the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) will be signing letters of intent to accept an apprenticeship or employment with a company in the skilled trades. The event is part of SkillsUSA’s National Signing Day, taking place in 300 schools across the nation.

The event is sponsored by Klein Tools, whose co-president, Mark Klein, says, “Right now, six out of 10 open skilled production positions are unfilled due to the shortage of workers.” SkillsUSA has predicted that by 2025, there will be 3.4 million new manufacturing jobs available throughout the United States.

Wednesday is one of two signing events that CATEC will be hosting for students. Nearly a week later, on May 14, the school will celebrate students from various technical fields who are or will be apprentices or employees with local firms.

“This is a very significant step forward in meeting our goals of preparing students for lifelong success in a rewarding career field and partnering with local businesses to meet their professional workforce needs,” said Daphne Keiser, CATEC’s director.

The Central Virginia region, she said, remains a dynamic growth area, both commercially and for residential development. “We’ve seen the impact of a strong local economy in recent years, and having robust apprenticeship and internship programs at CATEC gives our students a head start on taking advantage of the job opportunities that go with that growth,” she said.

Six CATEC students will be signing employment offers this week, including Liam Bibb, with Bibb Construction; Christopher Meadows with Spruce It Up Construction; Luke Page with Page Construction; George Rogers with Cavanaugh Cabinets; James Watkins with Tiger Fuel; and Justin Woody with Lam Electric.

Three students will be signing to be apprentices, including Adrian Rosas with Design Electric; Eli Shaner with Overhead Doors of Charlottesville; and Jacob Shaner with Pro Link, Inc.

In addition to the two signing days this month, CATEC is the first in the state to be offering a summer pre-apprenticeship program for students who will be attending high school this August. The pre-apprenticeship program positions students to earn paid apprenticeships during the school year while also earning academic and professional certification credits.

Shannon Tomlin, the school’s Career Center Specialist, said that 33 students currently are signed up for the summer program, which runs from June 17 to July 12. For information on the program, which is called PACE, and to register a student, families are asked to visit https://www.catec.org/register-now-catecs-summer-programs/.

“Shortages of workers in the building and construction trades have left employers in serious need of qualified men and women who can contribute to their business their first day on the job,” Tomlin said.

She noted that the average age of many of those presently working in the trades is 55 years of age and older and that the average age of apprentices in the local area is 28 years old. Through the PACE program, Tomlin said, “A CATEC student can become a youth apprentice as early as their 16th birthday.”

SkillsUSA is a nonprofit partnership of students, instructors and industry that ensures America has the skilled workforce it needs to stay competitive. The association serves more than 360,000 member students and instructors per year in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. This diverse talent pipeline covers 130 trade, technical and skilled service occupations, the majority STEM-related. More than 600 corporations, trade associations, businesses, and labor unions actively support SkillsUSA at the national level.

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