Trade Skills (copy)

Owasso students will soon get an opportunity like David Simpson (right), a senior at Broken Arrow High School, to work at a local manufacturing company through the Skills2Grow program. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Local students are getting firsthand training for the workforce thanks to a new initiative offered at Owasso High School this year.

Owasso is participating in Skills2Grow, a program hosted by nonprofit OK2Grow in which seniors can earn school credits while working part-time at manufacturing companies.

OK2Grow, based out of Broken Arrow, is a workforce development and career pathways organization focused on creating collaboration between the education system and the business market.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand and offer this valuable program to even more students throughout northeastern Oklahoma,” April Sailbury, executive director of OK2Grow, said in a statement. “Not only does Skills2Grow teach students valuable skills and provide training that can help them create a successful future, it also helps our local manufacturing companies create a pipeline of skilled labor.”

During the first semester, students learn about safety requirements, OSHA certifications, interview skills and more, and in the second semester, they work at their internships during fifth and sixth hours.

Manufacturers in the program are the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, FlightSafety International, Greenheck, Hill Manufacturing, Muncie Power Products and Paragon Films. Other high school partners in the program include Union, Claremore, Broken Arrow and Charles Page (Sand Springs).

Owasso seniors August Ashley and Myia Washington, both 18, are among more than 60 area high school seniors participating in this year’s Skills2Grow, 10 of whom are enrolled in the OHS program.

“As of now, it’s been a great program of learning so many new skills,” said Ashley, who is interested in aeronautics. “I can use a machinist scale now, how to measure something precisely, something small.”

Washington, who wants to pursue a nursing degree, added, “We’re learning how to do CPR, and it’s been good so far because I didn’t know half this stuff you’re supposed to know.”

Although OHS has offered other work-study programs in the past, Skills2Grow targets a certain sector of the workforce that provides specialty training for students, which the school has not presented in years past, Assistant Superintendent Margaret Coates said.

“So far it’s going very well,” Coates said. “I’m personally excited about the opportunity it’s going to provide for students that maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise.”