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Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week

Nov. 16, 2021
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Join us in celebrating the 7th Annual National Apprenticeship Week! We are so proud of all of our DPS students who are apprenticing at Denver metro-area businesses in Education, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Financial Services, and Business Operations.

The Career and College Success Youth Apprenticeship Program, in partnership with  CareerWise Colorado, was founded in 2016 and is first of its kind in the United States. Grounded in the comfort and support of their high school, apprentices are simultaneously earning their high school diplomas and steady wages, while having the potential to earn industry credentials and debt-free college credits through the process. The Apprenticeship Program has proven to be a strong example of preparing students for life after high school, making sure they are ready for in-demand careers and successful habits for college.

Most recently, CareerWise and our very own DPS graduate and apprentice, Naarai Navarro, flew to Washington D.C. to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP Committee)! This was part of the “Getting America Ready to Work – Successful on the job, apprenticeship training programs to help workers and businesses get ready to work” hearing and advocating for the expansion of youth apprenticeships.

Naarai, a graduate from John F. Kennedy high school, was an apprentice with Pinnacol Assurance in the marketing and claims department. She has always underscored how unique an apprenticeship experience is for a young adult because it helped provide exposure to various career and educational pathways. 

Understandably, as a junior in high school, Naarai did not have a clear idea of her passions or career interests, plus the financial burden of college weighed heavy on her. However, through our Career and College Success programming and support of school-based Navigators, Naarai began exploring work-based learning experiences through her CTE courses and internships. Ultimately, these experiences gave her the confidence to pursue an apprenticeship with Pinnacol. Naarai talks about her Navigator at the time, Suzy, “I need to say a big thank you to her because I would not have tried an apprenticeship and I would not be here today without her,”. 

You can view short clips from Naarai’s testimony here, but see below for some of the amazing notes she shared with the committee: 

“A lot of people my age don’t feel like they have options, but because of my apprenticeship I do have options… Because of the apprenticeship I have experience, confidence, a career path and the ability to provide for myself… I want this committee to know that my apprenticeship has changed my life because having the opportunity to work and be trained while still in high school has given me the confidence and professionalism to succeed in whatever I want to do.”

Just before heading to Washington D.C., Naarai accepted a full-time position with Pinnacol as a business development representative. We are extremely excited for this next step in her professional and personal journey! In the future, Naarai hopes to pursue a university degree, since her employer will help support her with tuition assistance, making the investment more affordable.