The NextGen Trades Academy is for students who may not have the opportunity to go to college. We train and help students find gainful employment in the trades fields and provide a workforce for local contractors.

The below introduction from Letitia highlights the program in 15 seconds.

One-minute Testimonials 

Hear the stories of NextGen Trades Academy graduates and the success they found as a result of the program.

Here’s Kerry, talking about her experience with NextGen. She was hired at an engineering firm in 2019 and now, in 2020, works for a home automation company.

Felipe’s vignette tells so much in a short period of time. Here, he speaks about his experience taking NextGen and getting hired right out of high school. Felipe was hired at Summit Technology Group as a solar installer and apprentice electrical technician. He was provided on-the-job education by his new employer.

Our partner contractors and NextGen Trades Academy graduates tell you about their experiences with the program in this 9-minute testimonial. You’ll hear from Jason Krist Electric, Summit-E Technology Group, Myra Millwork and all of the graduates they have hired.

We are excited to announce that we will be hosting additional NextGen Trades Academy classes for all students! The classes will begin in October of 2021. See the above flyer for details about dates and times. If you are between the ages of 16-24 and have an interest in the trades, or maybe just not sure what you want to be when you grow up… how about being a plumber, an architect or one of many other high demand careers in the trades? NextGen Trades Academy will help you make that decision and connect you with local contractors who are ready to interview you for a position with their company. The deadline for applications is October 9th, 2021.

Detailed Information

The NextGen Trades Academy is a program providing diverse vocational construction training and work/life skills to disadvantaged youth ages 16-24 within Sonoma County. Throughout the program, each student explores approximately 14 construction trades such as architecture, plumbing, roofing, electrical, green building, solar technology, as well as life skills such as cover letter writing, resume writing, personal finance, budgeting, and job interview coaching. The program integrates technology, classroom instruction, hands-on experience, construction trade research, and CalOSHA certifications.

Our latest offering of the NextGen Trades Academy is an online-only course delivered via interactive video. Mandatory components include OSHA, introduction to construction, financial literacy, and interview skills. Elective components include selecting two or more of our standard offerings for construction trades.

A key element of NextGen Trades Academy is student participation in weekly interactive demonstrations presented by several local professionals to enhance the overall learning experience. Even online, these visual demonstrations and Q&A sessions given by local contractors enhance students’ understanding of construction career opportunities.

Upon completion of NextGen Trades Academy requirements, each program graduate is eligible for paid apprenticeships and employment to help kick off a successful career in the trades. NextGen Trades Academy has a network of professional contractors, each with a high need for new apprentices in construction careers throughout Sonoma County and beyond.

Students who graduate from the NextGen Trades Academy have a leg up on their resumes, their ability to find work, and their ability to adapt to a new career.

NextGen Trades Academy graduates have proudly been hired in the following trades: Restoration, roofing, HVAC, contracting, interior design, plumbing, electrical, painting, retail construction, and others. Other students have gone on to study architecture at Santa Rosa Junior College or have enrolled in military construction training.

2019 Graduation Showcase

Student Testimonials


“I feel happy and I feel like I have finally found my path instead of being lost finding what I want to do.”


“Every minute of it was so fun and great!”


“I really enjoyed my 10 weeks here at the program. It was a great experience that changes lives. It couldn’t be improved, it’s great.” ~Rancho Cotate HS 2019 NextGen Graduate


“The program was great and I would absolutely recommend it to others.”


“I am more observant to what is required to live the standard of life we live in & am less likely to take them for granted. After doing this program I have been given a new truth – there are 14 different trades required to live this way & thousands of people who built it. We must appreciate them for they built our lives to be better, cleaner & safer.” 

~ SAY Dream Center NextGen Graduate


“My life’s future looks a lot brighter thanks to the program and goals I strived for.” ~Rancho Cotate HS 2019 NextGen Graduate


“Honestly, this program is AMAZING! It not only got me ready to work but taught me a lot about growing up and taught me how to act and handle different situations in the grown up world!”

~Chops Teen Club Summer 2018 NextGen Graduate

INFOGRAPHICS: Investing in the Trades & Retail vs Construction Earnings




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