YOUNGSTOWN – Four local career and technical high schools are looking to place students in their machining and welding programs into pre-apprenticeships with local manufacturers.

Each participating student recently completed their junior academic year and has a year’s worth of relevant schooling and lab experience. Grant money, from a Department of Labor Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities Initiative, is available to cover 50% of student wages for those who qualify.

The Greater Oh-Penn Manufacturing Apprenticeship Network, which sponsors and coordinates the structured program, said the pre-apprenticeships can start any time this summer and run for eight to 10 weeks.

“These students are eager and ready to earn and learn and begin their pathway to career success in the advanced manufacturing industry,” said Vicki Thompson, project manager.

Thompson said partnering with a career and technical center for pre-apprenticeships could lead to full-fledged apprentices with the company upon high school graduation.

“This program is an opportunity for local manufacturers to build the pipeline for a skilled workforce and answer, at least in part, the need for an influx of machinists and welding talent right here in our region,” she said. “Participating in a pre-apprenticeship benefits both the student and the manufacturer.”

Education partners for this initiative are Mercer County Career Center, Columbiana County Career & Technical Center, Choffin Career and Technical Center and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

Contact Vicki Thompson for more information at