Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

You Are About To Leave the Highline Public Schools Website

You are now leaving the Highline website and will be redirected to a third-party application or website. This site may have advertisements or other content not necessarily endorsed or approved by Highline Public Schools. 

Two Builders Team Up to Plan Hands-on Learning at Carpenters Institute for 3 Schools

Two Builders Team Up to Plan Hands-on Learning at Carpenters Institute for 3 Schools

Students Meet Veteran and Apprentice Union Carpenters

Students pounding nails and high five

The two general contractors building our new high schools hosted a group of almost 50 students from our CORE PLUS Construction programs for a hands-on learning experience last month. They visited the Northwest Carpenters Institute, a state-of-the-art training facility in Burlington.

Students and teachers from Evergreen, Tyee and Highline high schools heard from veteran and apprentice carpenters, participated in demonstrations, toured the facility, asked great questions and made connections with industry professionals.

General Contractors Building Evergreen and Tyee Collaborate

Cornerstone General Contractors Inc. and Absher Construction Company, who are building the new Evergreen and Tyee high schools, are often competitors. In Highline, they are working together to connect students in all of our CORE PLUS Construction classes to hands-on, relevant and engaging learning experiences.

Their goals? To support students and educators in our Career & Technical Education (CTE) program and meet the high demand for skilled labor in the construction industry. 

People kneeling in hard hats with students in hard hats.

What is CORE PLUS Construction Class?

Our contractors are partnering with educators from our CORE PLUS Construction programs at Evergreen, Tyee and Highline High School, because this program offers pre-apprenticeships during high school to students seeking construction career paths. The CORE PLUS Construction program was developed by the Associated General Contractors of Washington Education Foundation and construction industry partners with the goal of introducing students to careers in the construction industry through hands-on learning.

According to Elizabeth Palow, career & technical education specialist for Highline, creating opportunities for real world connections to the construction industry gives students insight and breakthroughs they don’t necessarily get inside the four walls of a classroom.

“We want to link students up with pathways to high-skill, high-interest, high-paying and high-demand jobs, so they are prepared to choose their future,” said Palow. “It is also such a bonus to have this kind of student support from the general contractors building our new Evergreen and Tyee high schools.”

Lady standing and smiling with students at desks.

Head of Highline's Capital Planning & Construction Team Paved the Way

No one was more excited about the February 22 field trip than Highline's Ellie Daneshnia, executive director of Highline’s Capital Planning and Construction Department. She planted the seeds for the teamwork and engagement happening this year between the contractors and our CTE educators. She invited Kristian Kicinski, associate principal and director of sustainability with Bassetti Architects, as well as Robin Brown, senior project director for Vanir Construction Management, so students could meet the whole team of industry professionals and think about their possible career paths. And she helped students learning how to grip their hammers and electric screwdrivers during the hands-on learning at NWCI.

“This field trip presented a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain valuable insights into the construction industry,” Ellie said. “Providing hands-on experiences and connecting with professionals in the field help prepare our students for the futures they choose. I'm excited about the positive impact this will have on their learning and future career paths.”

Curt Gimmestad, Absher’s vice president of educational services, said, “It’s great to have these partnerships among construction community members and schools in order to introduce students to careers in construction. Today’s students are tomorrow’s industry leaders, and programs like CORE PLUS is where they get their start.”

Preparing to Choose Their Futures

Students who participate in the CORE PLUS Construction Program complete their schooling more prepared to enter the workforce with marketable skills, ready to begin an apprenticeship program in the trades, or they may want to pursue a collegiate construction management program.

For the general contractors involved, they know it will take more than a field trip to fill the pipeline of future construction workers and skilled tradespeople.

“At Evergreen High School, our project team connects on a regular basis with the students in the CORE PLUS Construction program,” said Vicki Puckett, Cornerstone’s director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We provide project updates about their new school as well as bring in industry professionals for informational sessions about carpentry, being an electrician, or about the various types of careers within the construction industry," she said. "It is imperative that we continue to help grow this industry’s workforce. We’re happy to connect these students to what can be a fantastic career option.”

Student using hammer.

See more photos in our Facebook post!