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High School Students Jumpstart Career in the Trades

Between CMR and Great Falls High, forty students are enrolled in this year’s High School House Program. Up from 26 last year, NeighborWorks and Great Falls Public Schools are excited about the rise in participation and interest that local youth are expressing towards the trades industries. This week, students, business partners, and community leaders gathered as these high school students signed on for the Pre-Apprenticeship Program through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. By signing on, the hours these students spend building the 44th High School House will be counted towards the Apprenticeship Program if they choose to continue their education in the trades industry upon graduation. Each student will earn over 300 hours of registered apprenticeship time, jumpstarting their futures with a step up in their careers.

Mayor Bob Kelly spoke words of encouragement to these students, emphasizing the importance of what it means to have a hand in the High School House Program. “Wherever you go next, whether it’s college or working for some of these construction guys here today, the work you do is incredible. I want to thank you on behalf of the community. You may or may not remember this now, but five or ten years from now, you’re going to look back and know you were a part of something meaningful in Great Falls.” Former High School House student, Kaleb Stringer, also inspired the audience with a short speech on how this program influenced his life and helped his career in construction. Kaleb now works for Sletten Construction and is finishing his second year in the Apprenticeship Program.

NeighborWorks is proud to partner with GFPS, the City of Great Falls, and so many community partners who help make this program possible year after year. The High School House Program not only provides a quality, affordable home in Great Falls, it also provides a unique learning environment for high school students that equips them for future career path decisions and useful training they can put into practice personally and professionally.​

How the High School House Program works: The students provide the labor while the city contributes community development block grant funding. NWGF supplies the lot, arranges subcontractors, and finances the construction. NeighborWorks also work with potential homebuyers to ensure they are mortgage-ready with homebuyer education, individual homeownership planning, and down payment assistance through a matched savings program. The buyers must be first-time homeowners, and many have become first-generation homeowners.

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