SXSW EDU 2024: Paid apprenticeships for high schoolers

Aaron Frumin, founder and executive director of unCommon Construction, joined WorkingNation to share his thoughts on construction opportunities for students

High school students are given paid apprenticeship opportunities to learn building skills, explains Aaron Frumin, founder and executive director of unCommon Construction – a New Orleans-based nonprofit workforce development organization.

Frumin joined WorkingNation’s editor-in-chief Ramona Schindelheim for WorkingNation Overheard at SXSW EDU 2024 in Austin.

The organization has robust connections in the education community, including among homeschoolers and Frumin, notes, “There are various work permit requirements. We work with young people, high school students, and typically they’re around 16 to 19. All of our students are currently enrolled in high school. That’s really important so that we can collaborate and partner with their schools and coordinate wraparound services or various interventions.”

Frumin says students build a house from the ground up. “You show up on your first day and there’s nothing there. And you, along with the team of your peers, your new best friends and coworkers – you build and stand all the walls to that house in a day. You leave that day with, hopefully, an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and motivation to come back for more. Every next build day after that, you’re adding progress to that project – working alongside young people from different schools and different communities across the city.

“We also have afterschool sessions that we call framing characters. We’re building houses and framing character – our framing character activities range from technical training to team building and leadership activities to field trips and industry exchanges with our various industry partners across the industry.”

Learn more about unCommon Construction.