Seniors given jump on careers with tools of their trade

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Construction trades students from the Warwick Area Career Technical Center (WACTC) who passed the International Code Council examination each received $350 worth of tools on June 1 to help pursue their career paths.

Students from three other schools – Davies, Woonsocket and Coventry – also attended the ceremony at Warwick City Hall. All the seniors who passed the ICC exam received a toolbox from Wayne Pimental, president of the Rhode Island Building Officials Association that sponsors the event.

Pimental said the ICC program is made available to all nine of the state’s career and tech centers. He said association members mentor students and the intent is “to bridge the gap between kids coming into the trades and inspectors out in the field.”

Pimental, who is the East Greenwich building official, said the association wants students “to know the codes” so “they build well” and have a good relationship with municipal building officials.

“It’s real work, not a textbook,” said Mike Haynes, a carpentry instructor with WACTC. “We’re a home building program; every builder has to pull a building permit.”

WACTC students Kylea Henseler, Ian Cullen and Mike Tetreault, all of whom are 18 and finished with the program this year, found the program more meaningful than conventional high school.

“I loved it,” said Kylea, the only girl in the construction trades program. “It was really great to do something different. I don’t really like going to class.” Kylea will be attending Clemson University in the fall, pursuing a degree in political science. After college, Kylea said she is “going to join the Navy.”

“I’m not a normal case,” said Kylea. She said her decision to attend college instead of obtaining a job after WACTC is unique to her situation.

Ian has a different plan, more typical to this program, saying he “never had plans to go to college, so this worked out good for me.” Haynes helped him obtain a job, soon to begin at Coventry Millwork Inc.

“Awesome, excellent,” said Mike Tetreault when describing WACTC. “It’s a lot less stressful [than conventional school].” Mike plans to attend CCRI part time and will be working full time at Keach Framing, a job Haynes helped him attain. “I’m excited for the future,” said Mike.

WACTC is a three-year program, consisting of a student’s sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. Students need to know building credentials and have a building permit, said Haynes.

“You either know the codes or you don’t,” he said. “It’s not book work, they [the students] can relate it to, something they can see, feel and touch,” said Haynes.

“You should all be extremely proud that you passed the ICC. It’s a great step forward to the future,” said Pimental, addressing the students. “The ICC is a great step forward if you ever decide to become an inspector,”

Netcoh Sales on Jefferson Boulevard and Dewalt, Stanley Black and Decker partnered to the 40 students who passed the exam with $350 of hand and power tools each. They also received certificates from ICC.

Whether going to college or diving right into a job, WACTC prepared these students for experiences in ways that other educational routes could not have.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE:

Wayne Pimental, president of the Rhode Island Building Officials’ Association addressed construction trades seniors who passed the International Code Council examination, against a backdrop of tool boxes and tools that were soon given to them. (Warwick Beacon photos) A STEP TOWARD THEIR CAREERS:

Warwick area Career and Technical Center students (wearing black) join other construction trades students on the steps of City Hall for a group photo. HELPING HER GET A START:

Carol and Sam Netcoh of Netcoh Sales on Jefferson Boulevard congratulate Kylea Henseler following Thursday’s ceremony. Netcoh Sales donated power tools to each of the seniors.

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