100 Graduates Ready To Work For You

Would you believe that tucked in the neat little neighborhood of Beaverdale is Iowa’s most diverse high school? Hoover High School is about a thousand students strong and students speak nearly 20 languages. One in five students walking our hallways is a refugee.

They are from Burma/Myanmar, El Salvador, Mexico, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Nigeria, just to name a few. All are hard workers, eager to learn and want to fit in if just given the chance. Their parents are working around the clock while they try to hold down jobs of their own, go to school and help raise their siblings. Many students are also good, old-fashioned Americans living the same struggle.
So how do these kids relate to the Des Moines home building industry?

Students meet Gary Scrutchfield. Gary, meet the students of Hoover High School.

Gary–president of Lumbermans Drywall and Roofing Supply–came to us nearly two years ago wanting to help us create a Career Post for kids interested in the Skilled Trades. He has brought in an array of interesting skilled trades professionals to do demonstrations from dry wall and electrical to safety experts and independent contractors willing to share their own personal stories. Bringing in local professionals like this has definitely piqued student interest. Even though this recruitment pipeline was just created a short time ago, we will start to see results already this spring.

Every year employers lose thousands of dollars from a shortage of skilled laborers. This problem is predicted to grow exponentially in the state of Iowa if this is not addressed. Manpower Inc., a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, advises that unless businesses, governments and trade associations work together to develop long-term strategies to alleviate talent shortages among skilled trades, future economic growth will suffer.

Recognizing this problem, Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) would like to join efforts with businesses in the residential construction industry to promote recruitment from our senior spring graduates to fill this shortage with 100 new workers. With nearly 70% of DMPS students hovering near the poverty level, many are facing graduation wondering what do to when college is not an option.

Luckily this community partnership may just be the answer. We are recruiting students who are over age 18, drug free and willing to work hard. Local members of the Home Builders Association will be stepping up to do some preliminary training in May, so new employees should be ready to hit the ground running in June. Building this community partnership will be mutually beneficial to both parties and increase economic growth across the State of Iowa.

If you are interested in learning more about our program and our 100 graduates that are ready to go to work for your business, please contact Gretchen Critelli at gretchen.critelli@dmschools.org or (515) 242-7874.

Gretchen Critelli is the Community Schools Site Coordinator at Hoover High School in Des Moines.