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Under the leadership of President Mike Barker, contractor and owner of Barker and Sons Plumbing & Rooter, the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association of Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino (PHCC ORSB) continues its mission of providing quality training and education to the next generation of plumbing, heating and cooling professionals.
To help that mission, PHCC ORSB has implemented the Ride and Decide program, which pairs high school juniors and seniors with trade industry contractors during their summer break, enabling them to try the trades – while getting paid – and see if it’s the right fit.
Ride and Decide demonstrates to students that the trades are an alternative to college. Michael Gonzales took part in the Ride and Decide Program through James Caccia Plumbing in San Mateo, California.
“I absolutely love this program. I loved every last bit of working with the guys. This is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of a trade and get into a career as soon as you get out of high school,” Gonzalez says.
Students seeking to participate in the program choose from a list of trades, ranking their first and second choices they would most be interested working during summer vacation. Then, based on the availability of participating businesses, students are matched with local contractors and spend one week as apprentices, accompanying professionals to job sites, all while being paid for the experience. At the end of the week, students have the option to pursue an additional three weeks paired with another contractor if they choose and if the availability exists.
Barker has had the opportunity to take the Ride and Decide message beyond high schools and into the community, recently presenting the program for Big Brothers Big Sisters. “We’ll go anywhere the kids are,” he says. “This is a great hands-on opportunity for these kids. They need to know the trades are a great option when looking at their future, at their possible career.”
The mission, overview of the pilot program, enrollment procedures, and other valuable information are available on the CAPHCC website.