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DPS Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Nov. 12, 2019
Two DPS high school students walk down a hallway in their office

Join us in celebrating the tremendous success of our DPS apprentices who are working across the Denver Metro area in Education, Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Financial Services, Business Operations, Healthcare —  and in Denver Public Schools!

The DPS CareerConnect Apprenticeship program, launched in 2017 in partnership with CareerWise Colorado, is an immersive, three-year program that combines paid work experience and college credit. 

Grounded in the comfort and support of their high school, apprentices take both high school and college classes during the week, while getting paid to work for one of our company partners. As they progress through their three-year apprenticeship, they take on more hours at their job and more classes on their college campus. Apprentices have the opportunity to earn nationally-recognized industry certifications and debt-free college credit—saving time and money!  “When I first heard about this program, I didn’t think it was real. I thought, how am I, a 16 year-old, going to get this business job? It’s amazing to succeed this young.” (Jacqueline M., Abraham Lincoln High School). 

The apprenticeship program gives students the tools and confidence to succeed in college and in the workforce — because they’re already taking college classes and working with supportive educators and supervisors in a field that interests them. “When I heard that an apprenticeship was going to help you with school and college, I knew I needed to do this,” she says. “My parents didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I took the risk, and so far it’s been worth it.” (Crystal G., Northeast Early College).

DPS has a deep commitment to the apprenticeship model and has the largest number of apprentices of any school district in the state. Out of the 87 apprentices currently in the program, 23 are in the final year of their apprenticeship, 18 are in their second year and 46 are in their first year. 77% of participants are students of color and all participants will earn an industry recognized credential and some level of debt-free college credit. DPS is also committed to hiring our students as apprentices — 12 students currently work as Denver Public Schools apprentices in DoTS, as elementary and middle schools paras and in Accounting. 

We are incredibly proud of our students’ successes and the knowledge they have garnered as this program continues to grow as a statewide model for education and workforce development. We are excited to see consistent growth in the apprenticeship program as our students continue to shift our thinking on what education and career attainment look like, all while exceeding expectations for what young people are capable of achieving.

We are currently recruiting for our fourth cohort at 23 participating high schools and have a goal of 85 students being hired by companies across Denver next spring. If you are interested in getting involved, whether as an apprentice, as an educator or by hiring an apprentice, reach out to Happy National Apprenticeship Week!