Porter County schools partner with Council of Carpenters to launch carpentry SEAL programs

INDIANAPOLIS – On Aug. 24, officials from the Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship (OWBLA), the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC), IKORCC signatory contractors, school officials, and community stakeholders gathered to formally recognize Porter County Career Center (PCCC), Portage High School, and Chesterton High School’s respective carpentry programs as certified State Earn and Learn (SEAL) programs.

Developed in partnership with the IKORCC, these SEAL programs will serve as pre-apprenticeships for the IKORCC Carpenters Union. Students participating in the SEAL will earn IKORCC Carpentry Level 1 Apprentice Certification through completion of the IKORCC Career Connections curriculum, have opportunities to work and learn with IKORCC contractors, and will receive automatic entry into the union with advanced standing upon completion of the SEAL program.

Speaking on the partnership, IKORCC Outreach Specialist Chris Charters said, “The IKORCC is very excited to help connect CTE programs with direct partnerships and work-based learning opportunities for their students with our signatory contractors. The SEAL will provide a way for students to develop job-related skills and build relationships that will help them to establish a career as a carpenter immediately upon high school graduation.”

The IKORCC SEAL programs are aligned to Indiana Career and Technical Education Next Level Programs of Study and provide students the opportunity to earn 15 college credits from Ivy Tech Community College in the construction technology pathway. Additionally, earning IKORCC Carpentry Level 1 Apprentice Certification satisfies Indiana Graduation Pathway’s postsecondary readiness requirement.

Audra Peterson, Director of PCCC, said, “Porter County Career and Technical Education is extremely excited to expand our partnership with the Indiana Kentucky Ohio Council of Carpenters. This SEAL will provide our students with an opportunity to directly work for construction companies and to directly connect with the union after graduation.”  

Tonn and Blank Construction, Specialty Construction, and Solid Platforms, Inc. are the first three signatory contractors participating in the SEAL program in Porter County. The Construction Advancement Foundation of Northwest Indiana will also support each SEAL program by facilitating job shadowing experiences and providing additional safety training for students.

Developed and launched in Porter County, this SEAL is the first of its kind for IKORCC and will serve as a model of best practice as other schools in Indiana partner with IKORCC to bring these work and learn opportunities in construction to more students.

“Both IKORCC and Porter County Career and Technical Education representatives have done tremendous work in building a partnership and laying a foundation that will continue the expansion and support of registered apprenticeship in the construction trades across Indiana,” said Matt Presley, OWBLA regional director.

SEALs are Indiana’s state-level apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. They are designed to deliver work-and-learn experience for participants along with the skills and certifications that employers value. These programs are geared toward both adult and youth populations.

For more information about SEALs, visit the OWBLA website at www.INwbl.com or email the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship at wbl@dwd.in.gov.

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