Talk the Trades With These Pathway Programs

Kentucky’s Enzweiler Building Institute provides an intro to the trades for both high school students and adults.

Starting in the fall, adults interested in the trades can attend evening classes twice a week in the industries that are most hungry for new employees.

Photograph courtesy the Enzweiler Building Institute

The Intro to Trades Pathway at Kentucky’s Enzweiler Building Institute is split into two programs that offer the same material: the long-running high school-based program for students, and the new evening program, for those 18 and older.

High schoolers spend four days a week at the part-time program, says Vicki Berling, the director of professional development for Enzweiler Building Institute in Erlanger, which has been working with students since 1967; the adult-focused program will kick off this fall at Enzweiler’s new Latonia branch. This is closer to the bus line, or even within walking distance, for the potential students who could most benefit from the program.

“This is an apprenticeship model,” Berling says. “We know you learn on the job.” Which means after receiving the hands-on experience during the day, students attend evening classes to the learn the “why” behind the daytime’s “what.”

The new Latonia classes have gotten a lot of support through the City of Covington. City council voted in favor of the building, she says, and provided some financial support for first few years there. The Latonia opening has also received a grant from Duke Energy.

“Lots of community partners are cheering us on,” Berling says.

The Intro to Trades Pathway focuses on a variety of areas, including plumbing, electric, HVAC, and masonry. Those interested in attending the evening program can sign up through Berling, who will help them figure out the best program to study.

The variety of programs offered is helpful, too, for the participating high schoolers.

“When they come out, we like them to have been exposed to all of the major skill trades in the hopes that in their senior year, they can find placement for a co-op,” Berling says. “Usually the co-op will lead to a full-time job for most students.”

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