Join us in celebrating the Sixth 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, Business Operations and Hospitality.
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. “I have more experience, more knowledge and more confidence than I would ever have had without the opportunities it has given me these past few years,” says Angela, a business apprentice who completed the three-year program in 2020.
Apprentices who have gone on to pursue a post-secondary education feel they are more prepared to succeed and choose an area of study because of their time as an apprentice. Byonce, a business apprentice and the first in her family to go to college, is now a student at UNC Greeley. She shared how her outlook on school has changed: “Before, I was someone who failed classes. Now I know I can reach out to my professor. Other people still write emails like they’re texting. I know in my classes I’ll be professional. I have so much now before my first year of college. What I’ve learned here will change how I come at anything professional in the future. I don’t know what’s coming at me, but I know that I can handle it.”
DPS has a deep commitment to the apprenticeship model and has one of the leading apprenticeship programs in the country. After our first cohort of 21 students completed their apprenticeships in June 2020, we now have 56 apprentices currently in the program– 13 are in the final year of their apprenticeship, 29 are in their second year and 14 are in their first year. As expected, COVID-19 impacted the ability of companies to hire apprentices last spring, but we and our business partners? are looking forward to a new hiring cycle beginning in spring 2021.
Due to COVID-19, the apprenticeship program had to make a shift to virtual work for the majority of apprentices. Students displayed their flexibility when they made the transition to both remote learning and remote working. They’ve developed new sets of skills to adapt to this new virtual environment, including time management, self-advocacy, and demonstrating professionalism through virtual meetings and emails. “During these past few months in the remote environment I have learned to improvise, adapt, be disciplined and stay focused. I have been able to continue working smoothly after we began quarantine, and even had the opportunity to work with multiple teams throughout the company. Even though we are virtual, it’s almost as if we were still working in the office,” says Ricardo H., an apprentice at Pinnacol Assurance.
Larry H., an apprentice at Delta Dental, shared, “I’ve learned how to be smart with my time when working on multiple projects at once. I’ve been motivated by my family to work harder all around during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Other apprentices have been driven by knowing their apprenticeship will have a positive impact toward their future goals, as well as being fortunate that they’re able to work and maintain a job during the pandemic while continuing to learn new skills.
We are currently recruiting for our fifth cohort at 20 participating high schools and hope to maintain our goal of placing 50 apprentices into available Denver metro apprenticeships. If you are interested in getting involved, whether as an apprentice, as an educator who wants to support students towards an apprenticeship, or by hiring an apprentice, please complete this survey. For any additional questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the apprenticeship success stories below!