MANKATO, MINN

Manufacturing jobs have been around for centuries.

And factories have changed a lot over the years as most provide clean work places, competitive benefits and exceptional pay.

As part of the Mankato Area School District's Pathways Program, the district is getting more kids excited about local manufacturing jobs.

"We know that it's a need in our work force especially in the Mankato area that the manufacturing workforce sites are looking for employees so we thought it would be a good opportunity for kids to get skilled at a young age so that way they can go right into the workforce and feed the pipeline," explained Mary Berg of the Workbase Learning Program.

This program is called a youth apprenticeship.

Students are able to participate the summer going in to their junior year.

They will then complete 900 hours, 450 hours per academic year, to see how the everyday worker does their job at a manufacturing job site.

Students weren't shy about how beneficial this program is to them and their future.

"This was my first job and so starting I didn't really know that much about general ideas about the workforce like payroll and taxes and things like that along with work force efficiency and how to work as a team and so those skills I've learned throughout this program and know I can use them in the future," said Mankato West Senior Andrew Herold.

"I have learned that through experience that you are going to encounter things that you don't understand, don't know what to do and you have to ask for help from people that you may not be comfortable with talking to," added Mankato East Senior Amber Marrs.

Jones Metal is one of the manufacturing companies partnering with the school district.

They feel the program is not only beneficial for their company, but others in the manufacturing sector as well.

"Welders are in high demand," said Valerie Bentdahl of Jones Metal.  "If we can get kids interested, get them some practice and get them into the field early, it's beneficial to not only our company, but a lot of manufacturers."

As far as Andrew and his youth apprenticeship at EI Microcircuits?

"I do see myself working with things like this in the future and I would say it's an amazing experience," said Herold.

--KEYC News 12