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Free intro to trades starts Monday in Medford

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A Medford class series designed to help adults get the foundation they need to start careers in construction kicks off this week in Medford.

WorkSource Rogue Valley’s free eight-week Pre-Apprenticeship class series starts Monday morning, providing an introduction to different types of construction jobs and helping people who have no construction experience get their first foot in the door into a high-paying career track in the trades, according to instructor and Pre-Apprenticeship Coordinator Shawn Wonnacott.

The four-day a week class series mixes classroom instruction, guest speakers and tours of different job sites, according to Wonnacott, giving people the basics from a math refresher to how to identify different tools from monkey wrenches to miter saws, along with career building skills such as resume and job interview pointers.

Wonnacott says he’s worked in lath and plaster in the San Jose, California area after a four-year apprenticeship that started about 1980. Seeing the projects he’s completed around the Bay Area gave him tremendous pride and confidence.

“It’s very rewarding to see something you created,” Wonnacott said.

Wonnacott said people of smaller stature often express concern they lack the strength of taller and more muscular workers, but Wonacott said there’s opportunities for smaller people because they can get into smaller places.

Although there’s a place in the trades for men and women of different backgrounds, Wonacott said construction isn’t always easy work and isn’t the right fit for everyone. There’s been mornings he’s woken up so tired he could hardly “put his socks up,” and particularly in the Rogue Valley construction jobs can require extensive travel.

WorkSource Rogue Valley, formerly known as The Job Council, adapted its curriculum from Oregon Tradeswomen, a nonprofit that works to add diversity in the trades. The free classes are open to any adult, and run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays starting Sept. 30, at WorkSource Rogue Valley, 119 N. Oakdale Ave., Medford. Future classes are also in the works, according to Wonnacott.

For info or to sign up, contact Wonacott at 541-244-3230 or email shawnw@worksourcerogue.org.

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WorkSource Rogue Valley