In 2017, Iron River Construction, located in Chaska, implemented an apprenticeship program to increase accessibility to education for students interested in vocational studies.
Luke Hesse and Steve Kurth were chosen as the Iron River Construction 2021 apprentices following a competitive selection process. Apprentices earn a full-ride scholarship, full-time summer apprentice work, and college help to navigate student aid, scholarships and enrollment, according to an Iron River press release.
After completing the two-year program, apprentices will have earned their degree in carpentry, gained experience, and have preferential hiring at Iron River Construction.
Iron River Construction President Tracy Dahlin created the scholarship program because she noticed the demand for high-quality, educated tradespeople. She decided to create an apprenticeship at Iron River Construction that paired mentoring for experts in the field and academic coursework.
Steve Kurth is a 2021 graduate from Chaska High School. He enjoys carpentry and appreciates architecture, which led him to apply to the apprenticeship program. During his first month, he has grown to appreciate the time and craftsmanship needed to see a project from start to finish. Luke Hesse, also a 2021 graduate, has always enjoyed woodworking projects. In his first month, he has been impressed with time, attention to detail, and craft behind carpentry, according to the release.
Both Luke and Steve learned about this unique opportunity through their local BNI. Hesse and Kurth plan on attending the Carpentry Program at Alexandria Technical & Community College in the fall.