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Youth apprentice Dominic Ferroggiaro of Benson High School.

Dominic Ferroggiaro didn’t do much sleeping in this summer. Instead, the 16-year-old Benson High School senior woke up early, laced up his boots and headed to Tice Industries, where he works as a paid apprentice.

“It has opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” Dominic said. “This is my first job, and I’m already like, ‘Wow, this will really come in handy.'”

Dominic is one of several Portland Public Schools students who have worked in recent years at local manufacturers through the Youth Apprenticeship Training Program, which allows promising students under 18 to work alongside millwrights, electricians and other craftspeople.

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Employers like the extra set of hands, as well as a chance to share their trade with the next generation. Students appreciate the paid work, which connects them with employees who teach them job skills and life lessons.

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Benjamin Gilmore.

“I’m learning how to have and maintain a career,” says Benson senior Benjamin Gilmore, who secured an apprenticeship with PCC Structurals, a Fortune 500 manufacturer. “And it relates directly to what we’re learning in class.”

PWA works year-round with high schools and employers to provide career-learning opportunities for young people. Our partners include industry giants such as Nike and smaller businesses like Tice Industries, a manufacturer of fine hardware. Our work includes career days at local employers, mentorships in targeted career fields and the NW Youth Careers Expo on Feb. 24, 2016.

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Scott Tice

“The number-one reason I’m doing this is that I want to give back,” says Tice Industries president Scott Tice, a Benson alum. “I think everyone gets a lot out of it.”

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We’re thankful for the many Portland-area employers who volunteer through PWA to connect with their future workforce and help students develop their college-and-career aspirations. (Contact us if you’d like to deepen your involvement.)