High School Success Stories


Are you open to a career in Minnesota’s building and construction trades after high school? Do you excel at hands-on work and want to get paid to learn new skills? Are you looking for an alternative to attending college or joining the military?

Minnesota’s construction trade unions offer pathways to career-ready skills, a paycheck and debt-free college credit. Registered apprenticeship is the gold standard of work-based learning.

High school students can learn about construction careers through hands-on opportunities sponsored by the Construction Careers Foundation, such as the Minnesota Trades Academy, Construction Apprenticeship Prep (CAP) courses offered through Minnesota’s high schools, or Construct Tomorrow events.

Here are stories from Minnesota high school students who participated in these programs.

Power Girls Fuels Girl Power for Minnesota and Wisconsin Girl Scouts

Construction Careers Foundation and Dunwoody College of Technology partner with Girl Scouts River Valleys to introduce Girl Scouts to careers in construction. Marine on St. Croix — It’s not every day that a hard hat sits atop every head at Camp Lakamaga, but the sight was not uncommon by the end of June when nearly […]

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First in the Family: Oakdale resident graduates high school, applies for a Career in Construction

Justyn Lundgren, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen Hard work and persistence still payoff. Justyn Lundgren, 20, will be the first person in his family to graduate from high school. But he will savor his graduation day even more because it was through his choices, hardwork and initiative which allowed him to walk across the stage. Only a few years […]

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Passion for Cooking Leads to a Possible Career in Construction

Daunte Greyhair, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen Life often offers its own twists and turns. You dream of one thing one day, only to find that it opens a door to something you never considered before. So it was for Daunte Greyhair, 19, who thought that his passion was cooking. He dreamed of becoming a chef and owning a […]

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Roseville High School Graduate Finds Stability with Career in Construction

Deci Nunez, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen When you move around a lot as a kid, you grow up learning to adapt quickly to your new environment and, you learn to value stability. While Decidecio “Deci” Nunez, 19, has moved around a lot — eight schools since his 5th grade — he doesn’t let that stifle him. He is […]

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Irondale Graduate Refines Her Construction Skills at Minnesota Trades Academy

Marina Sinniger, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen Irondale graduate, Marina Sinniger, has construction in her blood. Learning from her grandfather who was a sheet metal worker, she has been tinkering since she was a kid. “He taught me what he could because I was too young to work with most of the power tools,” said nineteen-year old Sinniger. “When […]

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Talented Skateboarder finds new passion in Construction

Lucas Moren, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen Precision, creativity, and self-awareness is what it takes for a skater to learn a new trick. Learning from each failed attempt, a skate-boarder gets back on the board and attempts the trick again — until it’s absolutely perfect. Recent White Bear Lake Area Learning Center graduate Lucas Moren can be found doing […]

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Passion for Helping Others found in Construction Career

Riley Wolf, Minnesota Trades Academy,

By: Amanda Pedersen When Riley Wolf was a child, he wanted to be a firefighter. He even signed up for a volunteer program at age 16. But now, at age 20, Wolf is considering a career in construction. “Construction is a lot like being a firefighter — its manual work but you have to think […]

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Senior at Irondale High School is not Afraid to Try New Things

Gary Woodward, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Amanda Pedersen Being curious and open to learning new things that challenge you is a skill that many people wish they had. Most people would say that the butterfly is the hardest stroke in swimming. Some can practice for years without perfecting it. Gary Woodward, 17, is someone who is not afraid to work […]

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Dungeons and Dragons to Career in Construction


By: Amanda Pederson Elaborate Dungeons & Dragons campaigns can take a player from solving intricate puzzles to engaging in intense battles. Embarking upon imaginary adventures within a fantasy setting, players in D&D use their creative minds to construct game characters and work together for a common goal. And that’s exactly the creative thrill that Kyle […]

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Karen Student from St. Paul’s Harding Senior High School on Track for a Career in Construction  

Satlwe Moo, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Satlwe Moo found the perfect summer job. A job where he could learn something new and work on his physical health. All while getting paid for it. Starting his senior year at Harding High School this fall, Moo, a resident of St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood is optimistic about his future – […]

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Grandfather and Minnesota Trade Academy Inspire Future Electrician

Ivis Carranza, Minnesota Trades Academy

By Emily Sweeney Ivis Carranza’s biggest role model in life is his grandfather, a man who showed him the value of hard work and encouraged Carranza to “take every opportunity to learn new things.” At 20 years old, Carranza has already taken those words to heart. Before starting classes at St. Paul College, he decided […]

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Roosevelt Student finds Empowerment, Independence in Construction Internship

Omelkeir Muhumed, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Omelkeir Muhumed’s name means “bringing goodness” and she does that often when she leads by example, as an older sister, as a student and on the construction site. The Roosevelt 10th grader is the oldest of eight children in her family. Her youngest brother is 10 months old. “I always help out […]

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Minneapolis High School Senior Uses Teamwork in Soccer and Construction Internship

William Quito, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney William Quito is the type of person you want on your team. Whether it’s on the soccer field, in the classroom or at work, Quito has a can-do attitude that motivates those around him to strive for success. A rising senior at South High School in Minneapolis, Quito sees parallels between his […]

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Washington High School Senior’s Positive First Construction Experience Drives Interest in the Field

Kong Xiong, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney St. Paul resident Kong Xiong had little experience and almost no interest in construction before this summer. But after enrolling in Step-Up, a youth achievement and career exploration program at Washington Technology Magnet School in St Paul, Xiong, a rising senior, wanted to gain work experience and learn new skills. That’s why […]

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Highland Park Junior Pursues Construction Internship with Goal of Becoming an Electrician

Daniel Ryan, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Daniel Ryan starts his junior year this fall at Highland Park High School in St. Paul and he’s already planning for life after high school. The first step of Ryan’s post-high school plan was put into motion this summer when he signed up for a paid summer construction internship through the Minnesota […]

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Como High School Student finds Art, Creativity, and Purpose in Construction Work

Charlahn “Lahni” Maggitt, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney For Charlahn “Lahni” Maggitt, being creative is part of how he expresses himself. “If I looked up a picture, I could draw it,” Maggitt said. “Other people definitely describe me as creative because I like all kinds of drawing, painting, poetry, and even sculpting.” An 11th grader at Como Park Senior High […]

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Internship Allows Minneapolis High School Student to Learn About His Future in Minnesota’s Construction Trades

Mohamud Ibrahim, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Mohamud Ibrahim doesn’t like sitting. He’d rather be outside playing soccer and scoring goals. Anything – anything – to stay active. To use his hands. To move his feet. So, to keep himself moving this summer, Ibrahim wanted to find hands-on work that would allow him to be outside. That’s why the Minneapolis […]

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Minneapolis High School Graduate Prepares for a Career in Minnesota’s Construction Industry with Summer Internship

Deairion Rouser, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Deairion Rouser’s friends, family and teachers describe him as a curious learner. He’s always looking for new opportunities and he arrives ready to learn and participate. Rouser graduated from Transition Plus High School in Minneapolis this spring, where a job coordinator recommended that he apply for the Minnesota Trades Academy (MTA), a […]

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Somali Teen Sees a Future in the Construction Trades

Samira Alden, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Karin Ellefson Samira Alden wanted to push herself and try something new, so she signed up for the Minnesota Trades Academy. The Minnesota Trades Academy is a paid summer construction internship experience for selected Twin Cities area high school youth. Offering two different tracks, students learn about the construction trades through hands-on experiences. Track […]

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Brooklyn Center High School Student with Two Division III Football Scholarship Offers Considers Career in Construction

Rome Robinson, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Family, friends and teachers go to Rome Robinson when they need something fixed. “Oh man, people ask me all the time,” Robison said. “I’ve fixed my door, my dad’s car, windows, stuff like that.” So it probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knows Robinson that he would apply for a […]

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Minnesota Trades Academy Helps Student Learn About the Construction Field

Alejandro Anderson, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Morgan Brackin An incoming junior at North Community High School in Minneapolis, Alejandro Anderson, was excited to join the Minnesota Trades Academy to start learning about his options after high school. Like many Minnesota high school students, Anderson is interested in attending a four-year university after high school. And, like many students, he knows […]

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Recent Graduate, Immigrant explores future in engineering

Abdi Ahmed, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Karin Ellefson Recent graduate from Edison High School, Abdi Ahmed loves working with his hands and being active, but like many 18-year-olds, he is in search for an answer to a question: “What should I do with my life now?” Originally from Ethiopia, Africa, Ahmed lived as a refugee and came to the United […]

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Minneapolis High School Senior Balances Two Jobs, Construction Internship

Gabriella Soika, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney Starting a career in construction offers a gateway for a young woman to realize her dream of owning her own business someday. Gabriella Soika knows what it means to work hard. As a rising senior at the High School For Recording Arts a public charter school located in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood, […]

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Edison High School student enjoys staying fit, considers career in construction

William Thomas-Brown, Minnesota Trades Academy

By: Emily Sweeney When a football coach needs speed, he calls on William Thomas-Brown. Not many student athletes can match Thomas-Brown’s high energy on and off the field, and even fewer athletes have the endurance to play wide receiver, quarterback and running back all for the same team. Thomas-Brown is excited for the fall football […]

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MN Trades Academy Interns Build a Home, Make Friends of a Lifetime

Ahleah and Halle, Internship

MN Trades Academy Interns Build a Home, Make Friends of a Lifetime For some students, high school is about going to pep rallies, studying for exams and getting a diploma. For others, such as Ahleah Harris and Halle Arneson, high school is so much more. They are both involved in the Minnesota Trades Academy, a […]

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Lah Htoo, High School Student

Hands-on, paid summer internship experience in the Minnesota Trades Academy helps students learn about construction career choices Some high school students definitely know they want to go to college. Others, the military. But there are many students who don’t know exactly what they want to do. They do know that they want something different. For […]

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