SAINT PAUL — 16-year-old Htoo Kbri is gifted with a fantastic eye for precision, coupled with a strong drive to be out in the world, not sitting idly in a cubicle or classroom.
Kbri is currently enrolled in Washington Technology Magnet High School, where he channels his interests into his favorite subject: CIS Calculus. Outside of his scholarly ambitions, the high school junior takes part in his school’s auto shop program and runs the 3,000-meter (1.86 miles) race for the school’s cross-country team. All of these activities require endurance, perseverance and discipline – all skills he plans to put to work in a career as an electrician.
“It is my dream to be an electrician, more specifically a lineworker,” said Kbri. “My brother does renovation for the Bridge Division for the City of Saint Paul, so that is how I got introduced to the idea.”
Lineworkers install and maintain electrical systems that provide power to a community. In the event of a lightning, snow, wind, or rain storm, lineworkers lend emergency repair services to electrical lines damaged by the storm. It was during Kbri’s experience as an intern for the Minnesota Trades Academy (MTA), that he realized that he wanted a highly technical, exciting and hands-on was solidified. The MTA is a summer paid internship program that provides rich, educational, hands-on experiences to help youth learn about construction as a career choice.
“When we visited the Ironworkers Union, we got to do some welding, which was really cool,” said Kbri. “But my favorite part was when we used a harness to go on a beam, first three feet and then 10 feet in the air. It was really exciting.”
MTA Internship Illuminates Career Goals for Interns
Kbri sought out the MTA program after becoming curious about a career in the trades and discovering his school did not offer many construction-based courses.
“MTA is a great program to learn more about the trades,” said Kbri. “At school, they don’t talk about careers in the trades much. I signed up for the program because I wanted to learn more about the trades and explore which one would be a good fit for me.”
Kbri’s experience in MTA also helped the student gain an understanding of how he will use his favorite subject, math, in his real-world career post-graduation.
“At one of the training centers, the journeyworkers gave us a worksheet where you have to measure something to the sixteenth of an inch,” said Kbri. “They test you on how precise you can be and I did really well. It made me feel inspired and confident that this was something that I could achieve.”
Channeling Natural Talent into a Strong Career
Another aspect that Kbri is considering is what goes into a career. Yes, it’s important to do what you love. But it’s also important to be well supported, too. Kbri, is pleased to know that he can gain job security and build a strong livelihood by focusing on a career in construction.
“At the different trades centers, they all talk about the benefits of getting an apprenticeship in the construction industry like the good pay, health care, and a pension plan,” said Kbri. “Success for me means that I will be able to live comfortably and buy whatever I want, and I will be able to achieve that with a career in construction.”
Construction Careers Foundation: All Your Questions, Answered
To learn more about the Minnesota Trades Academy, click here.
To explore more than 30+ careers in the construction industry, visit CCF’s Careers page.