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Building Futures: Arsenal Tech Senior Makes Strides in Workforce Development

Miguel Magana (left) adds on-the-job training through Workforce and Career Development.

Miguel Magana, a 17-year-old senior at Arsenal Tech, is nailing down his career, one hammer swing at a time. 

He is the first Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) student to join the IPS Workforce and Career Development project. This innovative initiative, a key part of IPS’s Rebuilding Stronger plan, aims to equip students with practical experience in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields.

Magana got an early start on his future career last summer when he took an apprenticeship when he joined Pepper Construction of Indiana, working as a carpenter at an advanced manufacturing facility in Fishers. He’ll be moved to one of the many IPS Rebuilding Stronger Projects this summer.

His decision to delve into construction was influenced by his family’s history in the field, and he aspired to gain more hands-on experience and enhance his skills.

“I wanted to see what I could do in construction since my family has always worked in the field,” Magana said. “They have put me into this amazing building, doing everything from putting up walls to installing bathroom fixtures,” he said. “Every day I come in and improve my skills. After high school, I’ll have the skills to work fulltime in this industry.”

IPS has forged strategic partnerships with professional organizations through an open review process. Career development leaders from four district-managed high schools, including Arsenal Tech, collaborate to assess student applications and connect them with IPS partners. The goal is to place at least one student with each partner over the next few months.

Magana’s journey began last June when he joined Pepper Construction of Indiana, working as a carpenter at an advanced manufacturing facility in Fishers, Indianapolis. His decision to delve into construction was influenced by his family’s history in the field, and he aspired to gain more hands-on experience and enhance his skills.

Starting his day at 6 a.m., Magana faces the challenges of being a working student head-on. Initially challenging to adjust, he now embraces the routine, emphasizing the importance of discipline. His responsibilities range from hanging drywall and framing to insulation, ceiling tiles, door hardware, and bathrooms.

Despite the demanding nature of the job, Magana envisions a future where he starts his own remodeling business. 

While juggling his work commitments and high school studies, Magana recommends the program to his peers, emphasizing the value of gaining practical experience and a sense of accomplishment.