RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In just a few days, Cody Corbett will be out in the workforce.
“Monday I’ll be in my own truck doing calls,” he said.
Corbett is part of the Technical Academy at Michael & Sons in Richmond. He’s studying electrical.
The students go through a paid, 13-week training course.
“I wanted to do this because I didn’t want to go to college. That wasn’t for me,” said student Raushan Sonnebeyatta.
He said it doesn’t take four years to achieve a desirable career.
“I chose this career path because I felt like it was something that was in high demand. It’s something that’s needed,” he said.
“Everyone needs electrical in their house, everyone needs plumbing, everyone needs heating and air conditioning,” he said.
On Wednesday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) toured the academy and spoke with students, instructors and owner Basim Mansour.
“He has started something that’s really novel that connects to something I’m working on in the Senate, which is how to train more people in construction trades and other trades,” said Kaine.
Kaine said in Virginia — and across the country — there’s a shortage of skilled tradespeople.
“My dad was an iron worker and welder and he had a hard time getting all the good workers that he needed sometimes,” he said.
Kaine has been working to make access to career and technical education a priority in the Senate. He said he will use the Richmond program as an example to bring back to his colleagues.
“I think what we can do as we’re working on education policies is, whether it’s curricular requirements, the availability of scholarships, Pell Grants at colleges, we ought to make very plain that career and technical education is on equal footing with college prep and make sure that we define educational success very broadly because there’s no one size fits all for every student,” he said.