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

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 Trades Academy.

Ryan compared his experience at Minnesota Trades Academy with some of the construction projects he’s completed in Boy Scouts. He plans to become an Eagle Scout this year. Photo Credit: Karin Ellefson

The Minnesota Trades Academy offers two different tracks for students to learn about Minnesota’s construction trades through a hands-on experience, multi-week program. Track I is a six-week introduction to construction career opportunities. Youth who participate in Track I can move onto Track II, a nine-week trade specialization course the following summer. The completion of both tracks can set a student up to launch a career in the construction industry, beginning with a registered apprenticeship with a Minnesota building trades union for those who are 18 and have a high school diploma or GED.

“I’m considering going into the construction trades after high school,” Ryan said. “Or maybe going to a two-year community college or trade school.”

For now, Ryan is interested in becoming an electrician, a career he’s been considering for a few months.

“A job as an electrician would be hands-on and I’d make good money,” Ryan said. “I do pretty well in high school but I’d rather not go to college and sit in a classroom all day long.”

Ryan’s ultimate goal is to open his own construction business and contract different teams and trades workers.

But for now, Ryan is continuing to build his skills and gain experience in the construction trades through his internship with the Minnesota Trades Academy.

“I know I learn best when I do hands-on work,” Ryan said. His team is currently working on a contracted solar shed project, where he frames windows and shingles the shed’s roof.

So far, the project and tools used at Minnesota Trades Academy are familiar to Ryan and he’s grown confident in his work.

Ryan passes shingles to his peers standing on the roof of the team’s Solar Shed project. Over a period of weeks the team shingled the roof and framed the building’s windows and doors. Photo Credit: Karin Ellefson

“I actually did a project just like this in Boy Scouts,” Ryan said. “I’ve taken woodshop classes for two years, too, and I’ve used tools during my scout camps. I should be an Eagle Scout by the end of this year.”

Interested in a career in construction?

Students who would like to learn more about careers in Minnesota’s construction industry should visit ConstructionCareers.org. To learn more about the Minnesota Trades Academy and to apply for the program’s internship program for the summer of 2020, click here.

The Minnesota Trades Academy is supported through the generosity of the following organizations: the Construction Careers Foundation, Apprenticeship Coordinators Association of Minnesota (ACAM), City of Minneapolis/STEP UP Program, City of St. Paul Facilities Department, City of St. Paul/Right Track Program, City of St. Paul/HREEO, Kraus-Anderson Construction, M.A. Mortenson Co., McGough Construction Company, the Minnesota State Legislature, Minneapolis and St. Paul Building and Construction Trades, OPUS Foundation, PCL Construction, Ramsey County/U LEAD Program, Ryan Companies, Saint Paul Police Department, St. Paul Public Schools, and White Bear Lake Area Schools.