Gov. Reynolds Visits West Delaware to Recognize Welding Apprenticeship

Governor Kim Reynolds was at West Delaware on Thursday morning to celebrate the school’s latest accomplishment.

The governor formally announced the U.S. Department of Labor’s approval of West Delaware’s Registered Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing: Welding.

West Delaware has a history of partnering with local business and Delaware County Economic Development to address the labor shortage and provide opportunities for graduates – this Registered Apprenticeship is the next step. Now, in partnership with Henderson Products, XL Specialized Trailers and Paladin Attachments, West Delaware will provide on-the-job learning in welding in addition to classroom training – giving students the opportunity to earn almost $30,000 during their final two years in high school.

Governor Reynolds says West Delaware is leading the way.

Delaware County has around 25 welding openings at any given time. West Delaware welding instructor Seth Harms says they hope to bring that number down with this program, giving local industries the workers they need while giving the students a head start in the workforce.

In the first year of the program, students will work an average of 15 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week during the summer. They’ll continue at around 15 hours a week the following school year, and after graduating high school, work 40 hours a week until competencies are met. At that time, students can become full-time employees. Harms says the program is already underway.

West Delaware senior Bo Juran says it’s a great opportunity for him and other students.

Governor Reynolds toured the West Delaware welding lab with Lt. Governor Adam Gregg after giving a few brief comments to school and community guests. Superintendent Dr. Kristen Rickey says she appreciates the governor’s support.

West Delaware students interested in the apprenticeship can contact Seth Harms or the West Delaware High School Counseling Office for more information.

(photos by Janelle Tucker, KMCH)