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The FAST Track program prepares students for apprenticeships in construction, manufacturing

FAST Track is a new pre-apprenticeship program for the Gresham-Barlow School District that will guide and support high school students who are interested in the trades learn and prepare for an apprenticeship in those fields. 
For Gresham-Barlow high school students aspiring to go into the trades, they can now FAST Track their career before graduation.

FAST (Future Apprentice Student in the Trades) Track is a new pre-apprenticeship program for the Gresham-Barlow School District that will guide and support these high school students and prepare them for an apprenticeship in the field of their choice.

"It is a program that where we are tracking our students in their junior and senior year as they complete steps so they can get into an apprenticeship," said LindaLee Frazier, Barlow High School's Career Coordinator and the FAST Track coordinator. "The goal is to prepare them for an interview or directly to work with some of our partners that we have created."

Frazier was introduced to the idea of a pre-apprenticeship program last year, and that inspired the new program. With help from the metal and wood teachers at the district, the FAST Track program was born and was approved by the Bureau of Labor and Industry on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

The program is rolling out this year, allowing junior or seniors at Gresham High School, Barlow High School or CAL (Center for Advanced Learning) to be eligible for the program if they meet the minimum requirements.

This year's juniors need to have earned a C or better in both their metals/woods coursework and Integrated 1 (Algebra 1) class to join the program. Seniors need a C or better in Integrated 1 & 2 complete and have 2 credits in metals or woods classes to be on track.

"The students fulfilling the requirements were notified that they are able to be a part of FAST Track, and they can choose to opt out, so there isn't even an application needed," Frazier said.

Once part of the program, students will continue their education, taking the classes needed to graduate, on top of being tracked by their site's Fast Track coordinator to make sure they are getting additional opportunities that give them a leg up on those apprenticeships.

After the two-year Fast Track program, students will have a BOLI Pre-Apprenticeship Certification, have gone on trade experience field trips and had heard from guest speakers in the construction and manufacturing industry.

In May, seniors will also participate in a trade panel mock interview with the program's partners. Students will be interviewed as if they are applying for an apprenticeship opportunity. Seniors will have to make a current resume, an unofficial transcript, their National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) score results, a practice application for an apprenticeship of their choice, a completed visual portfolio of projects and experiences, a letter of recommendation from a FAST program instructor, a passed measurement competency quiz (MCQ) and a passed blueprint comprehension quiz (BCQ).

"I want them to have confidence in themselves," Frazier said. "I want them to realize that this program will give them real life skills. Whether they take that on to an apprenticeship, to college or direct to work, we hope they use the skills they have built."

Some of the program's partners include Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute, UA 290- Plumbing, NECA-IBEW, Northwest College of Construction and ABC Pacific Northwest Chapter, Sheet Metal Institute (Union Training), General Sheet Metals Corp., R & H Construction AGC- Associated General Contractors- Oregon Columbia Chapter and Cascade Corporation.

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