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Sparks fly at North Scott High School welding apprenticeship program

For the past seven months, one senior at North Scott has been working as a welding apprentice at the manufacturing company, Eckhart.

ELDRIDGE, Iowa — National Apprenticeship Week is wrapping up and North Scott High School is highlighting some of its students working as apprentices. 

Several students are currently working as welding apprentices at Eckhart, a manufacturing company, and a partner of the program at North Scott. Another, a North Scott '21 graduate, is now working full-time at Eckhart after turning his apprenticeship into a job.

Ryler Plett is a senior at North Scott and has been an apprentice for the last seven months. 

"I'm a fabrication welder here," Plett said. "I read prints, I tack things up and I weld them out. Right now I mainly just pull things out."

Plett said he's always been interested in working a blue-collar job, and has taken welding classes at North Scott High School and at Scott Community College. Right now he works part-time while he's not in school, and the apprenticeship has the potential to turn into a full-time job after graduation, if their are positions open. 

"I definitely like welding. I definitely want to stay into it. I like it here," he said. "They've taught me a lot and I'm getting a lot of experience working here."

He added that there's a lot to learn from the hands-on experience. 

"Here it's kind of more like real world and there's things that come up that aren't really like predictable, you know, and there's a lot of little things like how I weld here kind of effects people down the line," Plett said. "I can make someone's day harder, or I can make someone's day easier if I, you know, weld something good or bad way. 

North Scott is expanding its partnership with Eckhart and will soon be providing mentors for its robotics club. In addition to the welding apprenticeship, the district offers certified nursing assistant, bank teller, and electrician career pathways.