Pitt County high school juniors’ ink local trades during signing day

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -A distinctive monkey wrench pen graced the hand of future welder Cole Phillips Tuesday afternoon, as he and 23 other Pitt County high school students inked their names with local trades.

“I think it’s a good way to start out your senior year,” Phillips said. ‘You can already get the experience of having a job, making money, and doing stuff on your own.”

The group of diligent juniors has been connected with several top tier growing industry trades, thanks to Tradesformers.

The well-known youth apprenticeship program gave Jada Hardee the honor of being the only girl in this year’s group, while also helping to discover a carpentry career.

“I just feel like a lot of people get intimidated by being the only girl in the group, which I really didn’t mind,” Hardee said. “I took it as a push to be better, it’ll be a great future conversation to say that I pushed for this.”

Like Hardee, the students will begin working to gain on-the-job training with their respective companies.

Some are worried they’ll miss out on creating those desired senior year memories, but Porter Harris says his “big boy job” just means school’s almost in his rear view.

“I’ve been working for my senior year to be not that many class periods so I’m honestly very excited,” Harris said.

Proud parents and community partners filled the Kathy Taft Center much like an athletic signing day, however these signees could soon be unclogging your toilet or flipping your power back on.

“I mean sports are cool, but when you look around and all these people sitting in the room are successful businesspeople,” Harris said. “You look around, hoping to be like them one day.”

The students are currently going through the onboarding process, which involves getting the necessary certifications needed to start work this summer.

The students will also earn a base pay rate while a part of Tradesformers, with the opportunity to have their college paid for if they choose to attend after graduation or work full-time for the company where they spent the past year.