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Arntzen tours Hellgate HS construction site to promote skilled trade

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MISSOULA - Hellgate High School Building Trades students and the Missoula Building Industry Association had the opportunity to take a construction tour with State School Superintendent Elsie Arntzen on Tuesday.

Hellgate is one of several schools under construction that Arntzen has visited around the state this year. The event was part of an effort to promote skilled trade careers to students.

The goal is to show students that there are other options than going to a four-year university out of high school. Tour leaders, including Jackson Construction, discussed the need for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, mechanical operators and other skilled trades which provide a good salary.

Educators agree this is a great opportunity for students.

“It’s been so nice having Jackson Construction group on site because it gives a visual to what we’re talking about," said Hellgate Building Trades Teacher Chip Rinehart. "Those guys have been great. We can walk over and when we talk about a trade they can look right at it.” 

“Their watching to see 'what is that guy doing?' Well he’s measuring something," Arntzen said. "He’s putting up drywall. 'Oh what’s the next step.' I’ve got an electrician and everything else, and at the very end of it, it’s monitoring that building. It’s being proud of that bridge you built. It’s being part of the entire effort.”

Rinehart says this is a good opportunity for students to learn useful hands-on skills even if they wind up not going into a trade.

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