Superintendent Jason Thompson talks to dozens of supporters at RAP ribbon cutting. (Courtesy Photo)

Superintendent Jason Thompson talks to dozens of supporters at RAP ribbon cutting. (Courtesy Photo)

Dozens show support as RAP center opens at M-P

MARYSVILLE – Along with being mayor of Stanwood, Leonard Kelly is also Snohomish County Labor Council secretary.

So when he talked to Nate Nehring and others about the shortage of workers and the need for training young people to take the place of Baby Boomers who are retiring – the Snohomish County councilman listened.

Nehring worked to gather together the support of state, county and local leaders, and the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways program was born.

Tuesday, dozens of those supporters attended a ribbon cutting for the RAP center at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

Kelly talked about how labor really got behind the project. He said some workers who “never set foot” in the labor temple got involved.

He also talked about how RAP gets high school students focused on a career when previously many waited as long as a decade before deciding to work in trades. And even then they weren’t prepared.

That late start “can cost you about one million dollars” is lost wages and benefits, Kelly said.

Nehring thanked state, county, city and port leaders. But he said Kelly’s input about the need for a seamless pipeline into the trades as a career should be “an inspiration for other programs.”

Nehring also thanked state lawmakers for providing $1.5 million for RAP. The program would not have been possible without that money because the school district said it couldn’t afford it. Nehring singled out 38th District state Rep. Mike Sells for helping get other state leaders onboard.

“It’s easy to hit a home run when you’re already on third base,” Sells said, referring to all the support Nehring had acquired.

Unlike national politics, Sells also said bipartisanship was key to getting the funds.

“When we work together this is what can get done,” he said, adding that other Career Connection funding went to similar programs statewide.

Superintendent Jason Thompson said he kind of jumped the gun when Nehring asked if the district would be interested in hosting RAP. He said yes before contacting the school board.

“Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” he joked. On a serious note, he added: “I’m proud of the RAP center, and we’re just getting started. It’s not only a need in Marysville, but across the nation.”


Arlington starts summer program

ARLINGTON – A summer internship program for local junior and senior high school students is being launched.

Arlington Public Schools and the city of Arlington are asking local businesses to collaborate with them to develop a local workforce through the Arlington Career Internships program.

With the job market experiencing a scarcity of qualified employees, it only makes sense for businesses to invest in quality high school career programs, Mayor Barb Tolbert said.

“One of the top items I hear from our local employers is the need for a qualified, ready-to-work workforce. The Arlington Career Internships program will help bridge this gap and provide our local students with career-connected learning.”

Businesses participating in the program will benefit by exposing students to real-world work experiences, familiarizing them with their workplace, which can lower training time, recruiting costs and turnover rates.

Students who complete the ACI program will work 90 hours over the summer and earn 0.5 school credits.

“Students will have the opportunity to connect with local employers to build career-specific skills, gain work experience, and clarify their future career direction,” Superintendent Chrys Sweeting said.

In this first year, ACI seeks to partner 20 local businesses with 30 students. To participate, businesses should contact Lyndall Mullin at

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