Job Panel: Skilled Trade Reps Visit Riverfront School

Riverfront School has launched a new Job Panel Series inviting area employers to visit the school to discuss options with students for their next phase of life after high school. Starting with representatives from Lane Community College discussing higher education options earlier in the year, groups of employers are engaging with Riverfront School students about their options after high school. On Wednesday, January 16th a panel of representatives from local trade and apprenticeship organizations came to inform students about the valuable options available to them here locally.

The panel consisted of Kevin Cohen - Cohen Plumbing, Mark Harrington - Chambers Construction, Avril Watt - Johnson Crushers International, Tony Phifer - Reynolds Electric, and Randy Tye - MidOregon IEC. Each panelist represented a different local trade with generous apprenticeship programs, explaining who would be the right fit for careers in plumbing, carpentry, welding, machinery, and electrical. On why these reps take the time to speak with students, Cohen explained: “I was just like these kids; not sure what I should do with my future. It is important for me to be out here letting them know that the trades are a great option and that we need employees.”

Left to right: Kevin Cohen, Randy Tye, Tony Phifer, Avril Watt, and Mark Harrington

Left to right: Kevin Cohen, Randy Tye, Tony Phifer, Avril Watt, and Mark Harrington

Each panelist gave their background, discussed why they loved their field and what their industry has to offer the students. The students were impressed by the high wages and low-to-no debt required for apprenticeships. Each company represented at the panel event offers a paying apprenticeship program, some even offering tuition reimbursement for high achieving apprentices. Cole, a student at Riverfront said “I’m hoping to get into carpentry, so this was really useful in figuring out how to get started.”

Looking Glass Riverfront Services Manager, Brianna Vincent, organized the job panel series and reiterated its importance. “It is so important to give these students every possible opportunity that we can,” she said. “Inviting trades representative in to speak, as well as taking students to hands on events, gives them exposure to a field that they may never have seen or thought was a possible career for themselves. We think it’s important to set youth up for success during and after our services. I’m really thankful that the presenters could give us some of their time.”

Next week Randy Tye will return to Riverfront to provide a deeper dive on how students can successfully prepare, apply, and engage in an apprenticeship program.

Additional panel groups are in planning stages. For more information on these programs or to get involved, contact Brianna Vincent at