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Talented Skateboarder finds new passion in Construction

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 grinds, front feebles, tray flips, and ollie tricks at the skate park on any given day.

With more than 10 years of skateboarding experience, Moren can master new tricks in a little over a week. Moren expresses his creativity and athleticism through skateboarding. (Photo Credit: Emily Sweeney)

“I’ve never gotten sick of skateboarding because I am always challenging myself,” Moren said.

Moren, 18, has always had a passion for skateboarding; his favorite skateboarder being Tony Hawk. From a young age, he has worked hard to master many skateboarding tricks.

“I’ve even taught other people tricks, including my friend’s little brother,” Moren added.

Track II Minnesota Trades Academy Internship Gives MN Teen Direction

Apart from long hours at the skatepark, Moren learned some new tricks this past summer while completing a nine-week Minnesota Trades Academy Track II internship.

The Minnesota Trades Academy offers two different tracks for students to learn about the construction trades through hands-on experience. 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 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 earned a high school diploma or GED.

“Two of my friends did the Minnesota Trades Academy last summer for experience and said I should check it out,” said Moren. “It helped them decide whether construction is a career to pursue, and on top of it, they got paid!”

Motivated by his friends’ advice, Moren filled out the application and turned it in on the same day.

“My parents thought it was a good idea,” Moren recalled, “they want me to find a career where I can be successful. I’ve never loved school enough to want to attend college.”

“I always thought construction work was interesting when I was little and I always enjoyed watching it,” Moren added.

Moren grew up around construction. His brother has a welding certificate and his father worked in manufacturing. The Minnesota Trades Academy helped Moren explore the vast number of careers in the construction industry. (Photo Credit: Emily Sweeney)

Visiting Training Centers and Meeting Construction Professionals

While participating in the Minnesota Trades Academy, interns visit up to 16 different apprenticeship training centers where they receive training and supervision from industry experts.

In addition, the interns construct mini projects and try out numerous parts of the construction process. While Moren was visiting the sheet metal workers, he made a small box using tools he had never used before.

“I also got to try out stick-welding using an acetylene torch,” Moren said. “You’re not actually working at a job site, but you get an experience of what it would be like on the job by going to training centers and experiencing the life of an apprentice.”

Visiting with operating professionals, Moren was also given the opportunity to use excavators and bobcats. “That was learning right away on site and instead of being intimidated, I was confident,” said Moren.

Moren had taken a manufacturing class, a precision machinery class, and an autotech class in high school but was still unsure of what a career in construction would be like.

“When I started using the tools on the first day, I started to realize this could be a possible career I was interested in if I pursued a construction apprenticeship,” Moren said.

Possible Career Path

Like learning a new skateboarding trick, Moren wants to find a job that he’s passionate about. He’d like something that requires less skill at first, but over time, allows you to become more skilled with practice.

“I’ve never gotten sick of skateboarding because I am always challenging myself, trying out, and mastering new tricks,” Moren said.

“I learn when I am able to apply the skills that I’ve been taught. Like learning math in a classroom and not being able to apply it is not satisfying to me. If I am able to apply a skill, then I know when things are interesting to me, and I can see how it changes the real world,” Moren added.

After completing the Minnesota Trades Academy Track II internship, Moren knows that he wants to go into the laborers union apprenticeship training program for the great pay and retirement benefits.

“It’s a good experience, especially if you’re in high school. You will definitely know if you want to go into the trades after participating in a Minnesota Trades Academy internship,” Moren said.

Interested in a career in construction?

“Success to me is being able to support myself and my family,” said Moren.“I want to be able to buy a house and have a career that will allow me to do that.”

Students who would like to learn more about careers in Minnesota’s construction industry should visit 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.