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Davenport and Bettendorf students team up for collaborative city project

Welding departments at Davenport West and Bettendorf High Schools are coming together to create bike racks for the Iowa riverfront.

BETTENDORF, Iowa — While the pandemic hit post-secondary education hard, it seems trade schools are seeing an increase in students. According to a 2021 study from the National Student Clearing House Research Center, about 64,000 students were estimated to enroll in construction trade programs at any two-year college, and roughly another 6,800 students would enroll in four-year colleges for education in construction trades.

Schools in the Quad Cities have also seen some ebb and flow with the trade programs at local high schools, yet one collaborative effort is hoping to inspire kids to pick up jobs in trades.

Students at Davenport West High School and Bettendorf High School are coming together to improve community infrastructure through welding. The task for kids is to create bike racks that will be installed along the Mississippi River Trail through Davenport and Bettendorf.

“We’re ultimately celebrating our talented youth and the full-circle connection to our business community," said Kyle Carter, the Downtown Davenport Partnership executive director.

"It’s a real-world experience in high school all while creating something that adds value to our community,” said Ryan Jantzi, the executive director of Downtown Bettendorf Organization.

The completed bike racks will be moved to their final location on Sept. 1. Officials involved with the Quad Cities Chamber hope similar programs like those at Bettendorf and Davenport West can ensure that in the future these locally trained trade workers will stay in the Quad Cities.

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