Free pre-apprenticeship program for trades in high demand

Trades include plumbing, HVAC, carpentry, electrical, and welding
Palm Beach County School District offers free programs for adults to learn vocational skills that are currently in high demand.
Posted at 6:50 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 18:50:26-05

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County School District offers free programs for adults to learn vocational skills that are currently in high demand.

There are various trades available through the Palm Beach County School District’s Pre-Apprenticeship Trades Program.

The courses are delivered in partnership with Florida Training Services, an FDOE approved provider.

“We train adults in the five trades including electrical, plumbing, welding, HVAC and carpentry,” said Fred Barch, director of adult and community education for the Palm Beach County School District.

The trade courses are offered at the North Tech Education Center in Riviera Beach and the West Tech Education Center in Belle Glade.

The program also attracts students from surrounding counties.

“I took a welding program back in high school in the late 80s,” SAID Michael Zeno, the senior welding instructor at the North Tech Education Center.

“This is pre-apprenticeship is a little different than the program I took in high school, but it will definitely give you a good start.”

Zeno has been an eyewitness to the evolution of the technical industry over the last three decades and is encouraging more people to consider the long list of opportunities available.

“You can work on anything from military aviation equipment to trains, planes, automobiles, racecars,” said Zeno.

The course has been an avenue of encouragement for Nina Minieri, a student who previously lost her job as a photographer during the pandemic.

“I totally changed careers completely,” said Minieri. “I actually like using my hands and I've always had a lot of family members that are in the trades industry.”

Minieri represents the growing number of women who are entering the eight month pre-apprenticeship welding program.

She hopes to enter a career in industrial, construction, or assembly welding.

“It's maybe a once in a lifetime chance and if it comes along, it's a great opportunity for you.”

The free vocational training program in Palm Beach County are offered at the following locations:

North Tech Education Center
7071 Garden Road
Riviera Beach, FL 33404
(561) 842-1063

West Tech Education Center
2625 NW 16th Street
Belle Glade, FL 33430
(561) 829-4620

Plans are underway to build another technical education center in Delray Beach.

For more information or to register for the free pre-apprenticeship program, click here.