Rapid City Youth Finds New Career through On-the-Job Training

Posted on June 17, 2021

Noah started working with DLR Career Advisor Cha while he was a Senior at Stevens High School in Rapid City. Noah was unsure what he wanted to do after graduation, but he knew he didn’t want to do any further schooling. He needed to find a job that would not require a degree.

While Noah was in school, Cha worked with him on a resume, job search, career exploration and set up job shadow opportunities. Noah shadowed at Dakota Panel, Scull Construction, and Loyal Plumbing. He found he was most interested in Loyal Plumbing and the possibility of becoming a plumber.

Noah stayed in contact with Loyal Plumbing and had an opportunity to become part of the company’s newly formed apprenticeship program. They were eager to have Noah as an apprentice to fulfill their goal of getting more youth involved in the plumbing field. The owner said plumbing is an aging industry and most of the individuals at a journeyman level or higher are near retirement age. Outdated ideas youth may have about the plumbing field has made it challenging to draw younger generations into the plumbing field. There is actually great potential for growth in the field along with very competitive wages.

A DLR employment specialist worked with Noah to establish funding eligibility as an out-of-school youth and enrolled him in the Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program. Qualifying for WIOA provided the opportunity for funding for a work experience or on-the-job (OJT) training. DLR and Loyal worked together to get Noah hired into Loyal’s apprenticeship program and set up an OJT.

Noah started his OJT in September 2020 and successfully completed his hours in March 2021. When Noah speaks of his time with Loyal, it is obvious he has learned a lot and gained some valuable experience. He started with service calls and quickly learned this was an area he did not enjoy. Noah then moved to the new construction side and found he likes this aspect of plumbing much more. His favorite part is roughing in the pipes before the drywall is put up. He likes putting everything together and making sure it works right. He has also started investing in the tools he needs for his craft.

Everyone at Loyal Plumbing has great things to say about Noah. They enjoy watching him learn the trade and are impressed with how hard he works. Noah recently earned a raise based on his work performance and willingness to learn. Loyal employees also noted how much Noah has grown socially and in his own self-confidence. They cannot believe how he has gone from a quiet kid to a joking young man. Noah was comfortable enough to bring his bullwhip to a job site to show his skills in cracking it to his coworkers.

Noah plans to continue in the new construction plumbing field and receive his journeyman’s license. He likes the company he works for and plans to stay in South Dakota. Loyal is happy with the employee Noah has become and is eager for more individuals like Noah to be sent their way by DLR. They both feel like it was a great opportunity that ended in a strong partnership.

Noah’s advice for any students interested in the services a DLR Career Advisor can offer is to start a conversation. Career Advisors can be the key to helping students find direction after high school. They will help you figure out your interests and suggest possible career paths, some of which you may not have thought about.