Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is launching a State Earn and Learn (SEAL) partnership that will allow students to get a head start on their careers in carpentry.

During a media briefing today at Arsenal Technical High School, IPS officials announced a partnership with Indianapolis-based Pepper Construction and Indiana Kentucky Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters (IKORCC). 

Through the partnership, IPS will offer opportunities for students to seamlessly transition to IKORCC’s US DOL Registered Apprenticeship program directly after high school graduation. Students enrolled in the Construction Trades pathway at Arsenal Tech will be able to earn up to 14 college credits towards the apprenticeship requirements as well as earn their Carpentry Level I Apprenticeship Certification. 

Students also will have the opportunity, through Pepper Construction, to gain on-the-job work experience through summer enrichment programming and a senior year capstone.

“The SEAL certification and partnerships with IKORCC and Pepper Construction will be value-added for our students and provide them with an immediate entry point into post-secondary training and employment directly after high school,” said Jenny Berry, CTE pathway director for IPS.“IKORCC is very pleased to connect SEAL program students with our signatory contractors and form partnerships to promote work-based learning opportunities,” said Chris Charters, IKORCC outreach specialist, who noted that the SEAL programs will provide the students with a chance to develop job-related skills and build relationships that will help them to establish a career as a carpenter upon high school graduation.

Indiana’s SEAL programs are certified through the Office of Career and Technical Education. They are structured, but flexible, programs that include an education component and on-the-job component. 

SEAL programs focus on employer needs, with sustainable partnerships and embedded industry certifications. These can last from weeks to years depending on the employer, education, certification, or licensing requirements. SEAL initiatives also may be developed as youth or adult programs with K-12 or post-secondary partners.

“The IKORCC construction SEAL program has created a door of opportunity for the next generation of leaders.” Anthony White, project manager, Pepper Construction, said. “Pepper Construction feels a responsibility to empower the next generation through mentorship so they can develop the skills needed to propel our industry forward. Together we can make a difference to create a better future for us to thrive.” 

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development projects Indiana employers will need to fill more than one million additional jobs in the next 10 years, half of which will not require a four-year college degree, but some type of certification or credential beyond a high school diploma.