Skilled Trades Pathway

  • Go Pro In A Skilled Trade Career

  • Forklift training for students.

  • Like working with your hands?

    Interested in earning money right out of high school while building toward a gainful, high-demand career?

    If you answered yes and yes, the Skilled Trades Pre-Apprenticeship      Pathway may be the right choice for you!

    For more information: Contact Christopher Starkey           (919) 560-3968 ext. 81113

  • Launched in Fall 2019, the Skilled Trades Pathway provides foundational training for careers in construction, electrical, plumbing, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning), highway construction and power line maintenance. Through hands-on learning, internships and field experiences, you will gain the skills needed for jobs or paid apprenticeships with local companies. If your career goals include college or university, the program positions you for continued learning at Durham Technical Community College or the institution of your choice. The program takes place during junior and senior year at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability. Students from any high school may transfer to Southern to enroll.

Are you ready to join the future masters of trade? Watch this video to find out!

  • Why skilled trades?


    Exceptional job outlook

    The Raleigh-Durham area is one of the top areas of urban development in the country, creating a massive demand for new electricians, plumbers, and HVAC professionals. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70% of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Education reports there will be 68% more job openings in infrastructure fields - maintaining roads, bridges and airports - in the next five years than there are people training to fill them. All of this means: there are lots of jobs available, with excellent job security!  


    Good salary

    Many skilled trades professions pay more than the state's average salary - without any college debt! According to the average U.S. skilled trades salary is $51,119 per year or $26 per hour - around 1.8 times more than the U.S. median wage. Entry level positions start at $36,000 while most experienced workers make up to $72,000. A skilled trades career path includes ample opportunities for advancement and salary increases when you obtain additional credentials or move into a management position.  


    Career Path Image credit: Build Your Future,



    Job satisfaction

    One of the number one factors in overall job satisfaction is being able to apply your skills and abilities on a regular basis. Not only do tradespeople draw on their expertise every day at work, but they also enjoy tangible outcomes such as fixing things, building things, and solving problems. Skilled tradespeople hold a respected role in society; from the buildings we live and work in, to the roads we drive on, to the products we consume, skilled tradespeople literally build our future.


    Check out this NPR article to learn more about why skilled trades careers are the smart choice for today's high school grads. 


  • Apprentice cutting metal

     Photo credit: Year Up via America Forward. Used with permission.


  • WayMakers Collaborative

    The WayMakers Collaborative is a public-private partnership of business, education and workforce development partners committed to building a robust pipeline of talent into skilled trades and construction careers in and around Durham. Partners support the DPS Skilled Trades Pathway as well as the Construction Trades Programs at Durham Technical Community College, by serving as guest instructors, providing work-based experiences for students, and advising on curriculum and training labs. To become a WayMakers partner and stay updated on upcoming meetings and opportunities, sign up using this form.

    For more information, contact:

    • Jameya Green, Lead Workforce Development Coordinator: or (919) 560-2000 ext. 22754