Council Bluffs sets up new trade program for high schools

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - New unemployment numbers show the rate of joblessness in the U.S. is the lowest it's been since December of 1969.

Now, Council Bluffs Public Schools are helping some of its high school students get to work right after graduation.

Council Bluffs officials are stepping up programs that will offer students more studies in the trades.

Educators at Thomas Jefferson High School are working on setting up the Tradeworks Academy to fill a need for skilled workers.

Right now, industry experts say there is a shortage of people to work on construction, electrical work or plumbing.

"As long as we're still living in houses, building houses, yes, this stuff, there's always going to be a need," said James Crum, one of the teachers.

The Council Bluffs high schools are transitioning to create a program that allows them to work with professionals in the industry, while even getting certificates, diplomas or Associate's Degrees in trade programs.

Students can get right to work after graduating the program, or continue their education at Iowa Western Community College.

Seneca Calhoun is a senior, and plans to make carpentry his life's work.

"I don't really see myself going to college, but I see myself going to trade school, 'cause it's going to be something where I can get money quick, bet my houses. I later on want to build my own house and be able to build places so I can say I built it," Calhoun said.

Tradeworks Academy will prepares students to get out in the workforce after graduation and achieve those goals in trade jobs.

However, not every student is in the program to find a career.

"I'm taking it more like a lifestyle thing. Instead of spending money to have someone fix something, I want to learn how to fix it myself," said student Daemen Brittian.

The Tradeworks Academy is being set up at both Thomas Jefferson High School and Abraham Lincoln High School.