AUSTIN (KXAN) - While most kids have Monday off of school for the Columbus Day holiday - it is also a unique opportunity for those looking to further their education.
There's a program in east Austin that gives students a free education after high school while getting paid to work.
Amanda York was looking for job security after graduating.
She's one of a few dozen apprentices with the Sheet Metal 67 Union in east Austin.
"Here we're practicing our three pass weld," said York.
Amanda wants to be a welder.
And she's getting the opportunity to learn her trade for free.
"Well you can think of the apprenticeship as a scholarship," said Michael Kramm, Training Coordinator Sheet Metal 67.
How it works is anyone who is a high school graduate and 18 years old - can learn the sheet metal industry for free and get paid while working as an apprentice
"I'm not sure I could have afforded to work and have gone through ACC or something like that and have been able to pay for it," said Waldo Echevarria, second year apprentice.
Echevarria spends his days working at a company that deals with all types of metals and at night goes to class.
"It's two nights a week - four hours a night it's pretty manageable," said Echevarria.
The program is free because contractors want skilled workers.
"The contractors and journeymen in the field pay for the schooling," said Kramm.
And for apprentices like Amanda - she feels it's a good alternative to college.
"You have more of a hands on then a book smart so you actually know more about trouble shooting," said York.
There will be an open house from 10 until 5 at the Sheet Metal Union on 813 Airport Boulevard.
The freezing and near-freezing rain that swooped into Central Texas overnight prompted numerous school closings and delays and made for a harrowing morning commute on Friday.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
A Lago Vista couple faces child endangerment charges after authorities found their home covered in feces and garbage.
It's the first criminal charge following a yearlong criminal investigation into the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Cold temperatures forecast for Saturday morning have prompted Georgetown officials to cancel the parade associated with the annual Christmas Stroll. The Stroll, however, will go on.