Industrial tech classes lead to jobs right out of high school


Carson Rader

Seniors Brady Meyrer and Lauren Puthoff lift their masks for a photo in their welding class.

Jillian Keppy, PV Only Editor

PV students are receiving apprenticeships and job opportunities right out of high school thanks to the Industrial Technology courses that they are taking.

Typical required math and science classes in high school give students the knowledge and skills they need in order to be successful in countless careers. However, these classes are more specifically designed to meet state education standards and to set students up for success in college rather than prepare students to enter the workforce straight out of high school. What if students don’t see themselves at a four year college? What if they already have their post-secondary career planned out? This is where Industrial Technology courses come in.

Classes like Woods, Metals and Construction give students the opportunity to learn and prove their abilities early on, making it much easier for them to receive apprenticeships and even job offers during or right after high school. The narrative that is often pushed onto students by adults is that in order to have a successful career, they need to receive a degree from a four-year college. However, this is not always the case.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 67 percent of 2020 high school graduates who were not enrolled in college were employed, meaning they were able to receive a job and start making money right out of high school. Students are clearly finding passions during their high school years that they want to pursue for the rest of their lives, and courses like those of Industrial Technology are what are helping students find those paths. 

Senior Clayton Shelton discussed how he first became interested in machinery and how the courses PV offers have helped him see a future in the mechanics industry. “The reason why I took industrial tech courses is because I grew up around machinery and I wanted to learn more about how to operate them,” he said. “After I took the intro course freshman year I got hooked because I liked working with machines so much. The opportunities that the courses give you is unlike any other in the school.”

Shelton is a prime example of a student who benefitted from these courses, and he has received numerous opportunities from the programs offered, including an apprenticeship. 

“Brandon Tolle, the former industrial tech teacher, wrote a letter of recommendation for me to an apprenticeship with Arconic. This means that during the school year half my day I am working at Arconic and when I graduate I will immediately start full time,” he shared. 

The ability for students to begin working right out of high school, and the fact that they can do it easily thanks to help from programs at the high school, is extraordinary. While students like Shelton have interests that allow them to enter the workforce right out of high school, others have interests that require a college degree but are still able to learn from and receive opportunities from the Industrial Tech classes at PV. One student who exemplifies this is senior Lauren Puthoff. 

“I’ve been a part of the industrial tech program since my sophomore year and I have loved every moment of it,” she explained. “At first it was hard because I was the only girl in a class I knew nothing about, but throughout my years I have my friends and my skills have gotten so much better. I’ve stayed in these classes because I love the hands-on skills and learning concepts that aren’t traditionally taught in a classroom.”

Puthoff also received lots of help from the PV Industrial Tech program when it came to deciding on a career and what to study in college. “I have put a lot of thought into my future and I have definitely seen myself doing something in the industrial tech field. As of now I am planning on attending a four year college to either major in architecture, which I found a love for through the woods courses, or in mechanical engineering, which relates to the design and production of machines,” she shared. “I never would have thought of a future with either of these two professions, but by going outside of my comfort zone and trying something new, I have truly found my passion.”

It is clear that the Industrial Tech courses that PV offers have helped to supplement interests that students have had since they were young but also have helped students look outside of their main interests to find something that they are passionate about. Whether you are looking to broaden your skills with an interest that you already have, or want to try something new, look no further than PV’s Industrial Tech program.