High school students in Tennessee have the opportunity to learn while they make money on a real factory floor.
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Stanley Black & Decker partnered with a local school district to create a classroom in a factory where students spend part of their day gaining hands-on experience while receiving a traditional education.
FOX Business’ Grady Trimble visited a group of students participating in the LOOP program who are helping to make compressors and earning above minimum wage.
The program is was developed to change the perception of manufacturing and to get more students into trades following their high school graduation at a time when more than 350,000 manufacturing jobs are available throughout the U.S. The LOOP program has been running for more than a year and Stanley Black & Decker has hired three of the program’s graduates, Trimble told FOX Business' Neil Cavuto.
“Not everybody is bound for a four-year degree and we want them to know there are viable, wonderful career opportunities—especially in manufacturing—that they can start right after high school or can pursue some two-year technical training and have a great career,” Stanley Black & Decker HR Manager Erica Lasley told Trimble.
Cortez Chandler, a high school student interviewed by Trimble, is going to college for a degree in engineering and gained insight into the manufacturing industry after talking to engineers at Stanley Black & Decker.
Blue-collar jobs such as those being taught at the Stanley Black & Decker facility pay better than those in the services industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while restaurant workers earn an average wage of $16.64 per hour, electrical contractors bring in an average hourly wage of $32.41.
While these high school students still have to complete the normal course load, including math and English classes, they have the opportunity to gain experience using the factory’s equipment while putting money in their pockets, Jackson-Madison Chief Academic Officer Jared Myracle, told Trimble.