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WDMCS Hosts First Annual Apprenticeship Signing Day (05/26/2022)

May 26, 2022 | The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) hosted its first annual Apprenticeship Signing Day, honoring several Valley High School students pursuing training and certification in various professions on Tuesday, May 24, in the Valley High School Media Center.  

In partnership with the High School Registered Apprenticeship Program, sponsored by WDMCS and the U.S. Department of Labor, 11 students signed contracts with companies including John Deere, Quality Manufacturing, and Carpenters Local 106 for work in software engineering, welding, and construction. 

Click here to view photos from the event

Modeled after traditional athletics signing days, the event celebrated WDMCS students taking the next step in their education by signing an apprenticeship agreement. These programs provide practical training and certification opportunities, allowing apprentices to learn and earn as they begin their careers.

On hand to tout the apprenticeship program's benefits to the WDMCS community were Katherine Harrington, president and CEO of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, and Nate Cloe, human resources manager, at Quality Manufacturing.

The event attracted a full room of families, friends, and educators eager to support and celebrate their students. 

“The West Des Moines Community Schools Registered Apprenticeship programs offer high school students the opportunity to combine classroom-related instruction with on-the-job training,” said Shane Scott, director of secondary curriculum for WDMCS. “Hired apprentices work alongside experienced professionals within the industry to build their skill set, gain hands-on experience,  jump-start their profession, acquire an industry-recognized credential, and even earn a wage.

"Beyond continuing to grow their technical skills, apprentices experience workforce cultures and gain invaluable experiences to develop employability skills.”

The event took place just one day after the groundbreaking for a planned Career and Technical Education (CTE) addition at Valley Southwoods Freshman High School campus.  As part of the Valley Southwoods 10-Year Facilities Master Plan, the 39,000-square-foot addition will provide space for students to study a variety of vocational and technical fields, including culinary arts, metals, and robotics. 

Designed by Shive-Hattery, the $22 million expansion and remodel is planned to be completed in August 2023. 

Read more about the groundbreaking ceremony here

“This addition will bring the educational programming at Valley Southwoods to current-day standards and allow us to be future-ready for whatever the job market demands in our community,” said Mitch Kuhnert, principal at Valley Southwoods.

Superintendent Lisa Remy added, “The addition of Career Technical Education space at Valley Southwoods will allow students to explore interest areas at an earlier age and connect their learning to opportunities in the community.”