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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Thrivent Financial Funds Training for Livable Wage Jobs
​​Saint Paul College students Thrivent Financial

Thrivent Financial Funds Training for Livable Wage Jobs

Trading Up 2.0 Program Jump-Starts Construction Trade Careers

Trading Up 2.0 is an eight-week program, free for low-income individuals seeking the basic skills needed to begin a career in a variety of skilled trades. These trade industry jobs pay family-sustaining wages. By completing Trading Up 2.0, trainees will have the foundational skills to fill the growing industry need for workers.

Trainees gain foundational experience in several skilled trades including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, pipefitters, bricklaying, tile setting, sheet metal, heat and frost insulation, equipment/machine operation, manufacturing, transportation, welding, iron works, painting, glazing, and roofing.

Program participants get confidence-building career planning workshops as well as safety certification from OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration).

The goal of Trading Up 2.0 is to launch trainees into a successful career in the building trades, manufacturing, and transportation fields. Some program graduates earn an apprenticeship, a spot with a trade union or trade employer while others increase their formal education in a Saint Paul College certificate/diploma/degree program. Each trainee receives individualized assessment and guidance counseling from a career navigator so all future options are clear.

For the next two years, the Trading Up 2.0 is funded by a thoughtful grant from Thrivent Financial Foundation. In September 2014, Trading Up became a pilot project funded by the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP). The pilot project finished with 83 trainees jumping directly into the workforce (average starting wage of $15.26 per hour) and another 29 enrolling in postsecondary education. The average age for participants was 34 with 77% people of color, 30% women and 4% veterans.​​

This article originally appeared in our College Magazine - Spring 2019. Download a free copy to read more stories like this one.

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