For many high school seniors, May is a time for graduation and looking forward to what comes next. That means college for some, but King Tech High School is honoring students heading straight into their careers.

At the school's fifth annual signing day event, eight hardworking seniors signed letters of commitment to begin training in skilled trades.

King Tech works with community partners to help place the students with local companies and unions.

Senior Axl Burns will start the Iron Workers Local 751 apprenticeship program next week.

“I'm ready to go at it. I'm not even out of high school and I’m ready to start putting in 60 hours a week, give it my best and start making money, start a career,” Burns said.

Alaska Iron Workers training coordinator Jon Woodard says he’s worked with King Tech High School for several years to transition students from the school’s welding program directly into an apprenticeship.

“The registered apprenticeships offer good pay, benefits, medical, retirement — all that for kids directly out of high school,” Woodard said.  “It’s a training program and for instance the iron workers program is 6,000 hours, so it’s a four-year program. They start out at $22.74 an hour and they transition within four years up to $37.90 an hour.”

King Tech High School counselor Julie Vincek helps connect students to community partners. She says the idea is simply to build Alaska’s workforce.

This year, eight students were placed into six programs.

Industry Partners and Apprentices

Carpenter’s Local 1281: Johnathan Vanderhooven, Walter Platt

Able Body Shop: Trenton Klingbeil, Avi Johnson

Iron Workers Local 751: Axl Burns

IBEW Local 1547: James Garrison

NC Machinery, ThinkBIG Program: Caleb Tabios

Chaz Unlimited: Skyla Ketchel

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