Caribou High School students get experiences in the trades

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CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) - Paving the way to a successful future is the goal of any high school.and Caribou High is no different.

The high school's tech program attracts dozens of students from schools around the area and as Ashley Blackford finds, those students are given hands on experience to teach them what future careers are at their fingertips.

It's not your typical classroom setting, but Jonas Armstrong is learning a lesson in tearing down this shed.

"It's a great feeling like you know it's a lot of focus and concentration but it's a great feeling to have, it just takes practice and time" said Armstrong.

Armstrong is a part of the large equipment program at the Caribou Regional Technology Center. This is just one of the 12 programs offered to students in Caribou and surrounding schools.

"We have criminal justice and business, we have a culinary program, we have a nursing program, we have wielding, agriculture, carpentry, large equipment maintenance and operations, CDL, auto body and automotive."

Ralph Conroy is the director at the Caribou Technology Center. He says workers for blue collar jobs are in high demand.

"For two decades there's kind of been a stigma attached to vocational education, the baby boomers had the jobs tied up and there weren't a lot of job openings and the pay wasn't as good as it could have been and should have been" said Conroy.

Now that baby boomers are retiring Conroy says there are a lot of job opportunities for young people.

"We have employers coming to us, asking us you know do you have the kids that have the skills that we need," Conroy explained.

Most of the programs are full and Conroy says he would love to expand some of them to be able to accept more students.

"This is cheap way for them to get an idea of what it's all about and they didn't have to pay for four years of a college degree to find out gosh maybe I don't like doing this," said Conroy.

For Armstrong he says he loves learning about heavy equipment. He knows having these skills will be beneficial no matter what career path he chooses.