Congressman Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, recently joined Kent-Meridian High School students for a tour of the Kent-based Northwest Carpenters Institute of Washington.
Students had the chance to meet with current apprentices and learn more about job training opportunities in the region during the April 5 visit. The Kent training center is at 20424 72nd Ave. S.
Smith, whose 9th District includes parts of Kent, talked about the importance of unions and job training programs for creating economic opportunity.
“I am a strong supporter of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs because they help ensure that individuals have access to good-paying jobs in high-demand industries,” Smith said, according to an email from Smith’s communications director. “Programs like the Northwest Carpenter’s Institute offer great alternatives to college for young people leaving high school, and I’ll continue my work to connect high school students with these programs and make them more accessible for everyone in our region.”
Northwest Carpenters Institute has about 1,800 apprentices across the state. In addition to the Kent training center, the program has facilities in Renton at Renton Technical College and in DuPont, Burlington, Kennewick and Spokane.
An apprentice with no experience makes $30.86 per hour with full benefits and a pension paid by the contractor, said Marianna Hyke, outreach coordinator for Northwest Carpenters Institute, in a December 2022 Kent Reporter article. If the apprentice meets minimum work hours and class requirements every six months, the pay jumps 5%. Once the apprentice moves up to journeyman, pay can reach $51 per hour.
Applicants must be at least 17 years old. They do not need a high school diploma or GED but Hyke said they encourage everyone to get a high school degree.
Applicants will fill out information online and select a trade orientation based on the craft applied for. At orientation, the applicant will be evaluated and scored on a math test as well as moving materials, hammering so many nails and taking measurements. Those scores will decide if the applicant moves to an interview.