Over the years, LeChase Regional Diversity Manager Denise Barnes and other southeast employees have participated in Durham School District activities that expose students to careers in construction. Now the company is part of a new effort to provide students a pathway to work in the skilled trades.
Denise and other community advocates were invited to a meeting last year to discuss ways to bring skilled trades programs back into local schools. “Many companies approached Durham Tech and the Durham Public Schools to create or enhance training programs and expose young people to the industry’s many rewarding pathways,” Denise explained.
The meeting ultimately led to WayMakers, a partnership between Durham Public Schools, Durham Technical Community College and local employers. It launched last month.
WayMakers will provide coursework, job shadowing and internship opportunities for high school students – preparing them to pursue employment, apprenticeships or further education in skilled trades after graduation.
Denise is co-chairing the program’s Executive Team, which includes representatives from local businesses. One of their tasks will be to engage additional businesses – like subcontractors – to grow apprenticeship and internship opportunities for the students. LeChase will support the program through internships, as well guest instructors, job shadowing opportunities, worksite visits and financial support.