By Allen Schwartzberg, Owner Vail Plumbing

I’ve noticed a worrisome trend over the last few years. Fewer and fewer young people are entering the construction trades and fewer still have any real-world, hands-on training right out of school. So when Cienega High School construction teacher Michael Keck reached out to me at Vail Plumbing to see if we were interested in teaching students how to be plumbers, I jumped at the chance. Cienega High School’s Joint Technical Education District (JTED) program lets students learn construction trades hands-on. The program is a great way to introduce young people to construction who might not otherwise have thought about it and get them interested in pursuing a service trade as a career.

Plumbing is a hard job that’s not glamorous, but it is essential to our modern way of life. I think sometimes kids get turned off by that before they really know what plumbers do. But what we see with JTED is when you can get hands-on with the kids, show them the tools, the techniques, the methods and not just talk about the theory, they love it! For example, right now the JTED students are building tiny homes for the teachers and the faculty of the Vail School District. Eventually these tiny homes will move to Vail’s original townsite between the tracks where there is already a small community of tiny homes.

Ourt partnership with students has given us at Vail Plumbing the ability to nurture the next generation of plumbers by ensuring that the highly skilled, essential skills of plumbing are passed on to another generation. And that’s not just good for our business it’s good for everyone, it’s good for the community. The Vail School District has given its students an awesome opportunity to literally build their community. Making the community of tomorrow starts today, and it starts small, it starts with introducing students to different jobs, tools, and skills and giving young people the familiarity and confidence, they need to make wise decisions about their future.

At Vail Plumbing we’ve been really happy that we can lend our expertise, and we would encourage other specialty trades to connect with Michael Keck, connect with the Cienega Highschool JTED program, and lend your expertise to those students. There are so many other skills and trades that these students can be exposed to, and that they can learn from, and we all benefit from that in the end.

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