OHS carpentry teacher hosting networking breakfasts to pair students with local contractors

May 14, 2024 | 12:09 am

Updated May 13, 2024 | 10:21 pm

Nathan Meredith, a carpentry teacher at Owensboro High School, has launched a breakfast club for his students. He treats the students to breakfast at Dee’s Diner and pairs them with various local contractors to create a networking opportunity. 

In its early stages, the event only had two to three kids, but attendance quickly reached 30. Meredith hosts the event two times per semester and is always looking for local businesses to participate. 

“I like to do a lot of extra mentoring to kids really interested in the construction industry,” Meredith said. “A major part of the trades is getting up early. I told the students, ‘If you’ll get up early, I’ll buy your breakfast.’”

Meredith initially paid for the students’ breakfasts out of his own pocket. As the breakfast drew the attention of other businesses, he’s been able to offset those costs with some sponsorships. 

“This last time, we had over 25 kids and four different contractors. One even brought his entire crew,” he said. “One of my students got a job that day. Our ultimate goal is to pair kids with professionals who share similar interests.”

The breakfasts are for any OHS carpentry student interested in a career in construction. He hopes to continue to enhance the experience through feedback from the community and local contractors. 

“I like to take ownership of what I do, and I want to take care of these kids,” he said. “I’m already scheduling presenters for the future and creating a question-and-answer portion for the students and businesses.”

Meredith spent several years in construction before transitioning to teaching over 2.5 years ago. He said he understands what it takes to make it in the field, and few young people are interested in construction.

He wants to change that.

“Students can ask what a typical day looks like, what some of the benefits of a career in this field are, and more,” Meredith said. “On the flip side, we can ask employers what they’re looking for in employees and what qualities can set an applicant apart from a competitor.”

At a breakfast last month, Meredith hosted Rager Fencing, the Green River Building Industry Association, Jeffco, contractor Dormand Holland, and a retired pipefitter. At the meeting 6 months ago, one of his students landed a job in the Millwright Union. 

“My family always saw teaching as an honorable profession and a chance to influence so many lives,” Meredith said. “I want to give kids the best and most opportunities I can.”

Meredith also assists students in procuring tools, work boots, and work belts, either during school or when approaching graduation.

To learn more about the breakfast club or contribute to the cause, email Meredith at [email protected].

May 14, 2024 | 12:09 am

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