“‘Where my parents come from, not everything is possible. 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 Marquez-Cavoya, a junior at Abraham Lincoln High School
Dear DPS Community,
One of the areas that I have watched grow with the most excitement is our effort to link academic and professional opportunities for our students through our Career Connect program.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit Abraham Lincoln High School to talk to a panel comprised of students and educators about our DPS CareerConnect Apprenticeship program, made possible thanks to our partner, CareerWise Colorado and companies throughout the city who are creating paid apprenticeship opportunities for our students.
You heard that right. Through this program, high school students are taking their learnings from school and applying them at jobs where they are employed — and getting paid — by engineering firms, technology companies, health care facilities and other companies.
For those of you unfamiliar with our apprenticeship program, I encourage you to check it out and spread the word. It is a game-changer for our kids. Students are set up to succeed in a work environment two days a week, while three days a week they study in school and earn debt-free college credits and industry training skills. Apprentices work through real-world challenges as they learn what it’s like to be a professional and gain skills in the workplace.
“Apprentices change the culture of the work environment — it changes the energy,” said Scott Burke, Assistant Principal and DPS CareerConnect Pathway Director, Abraham Lincoln High School. “The students bring in a new way of thinking. It adds someone who is fresh, eager and curious and that’s a very powerful dynamic to have. Our company partners love to introduce someone new to their field.”
We have worked very hard to think through what this apprenticeship system, modeled after the Swiss approach, should look like in our schools. Our emphasis is on opening doors for students and ensuring that they have multiple opportunities to gain college credit during and after high school — all while gaining valuable work experience.
Students like Dezleen Vallez, a senior at ALHS and business apprentice at CollegeInvest, who said:
“I’ve taken skills I’ve learned in class and use them professionally in my apprenticeship daily — like how to work in Adobe InDesign and Photoshop,” said Dezleen.
The pioneering spirit you feel from across the district with this program — the educators, DPS CareerConnect team, employers and most importantly, our apprentices — is motivating and uplifting.
“Where my parents come from, not everything is possible,” said Jacqueline Marquez-Cavoya, a junior at ALHS and business apprentice at 2-10 Homebuyer’s Warranty. “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. I think it’s cool you guys provide this.”
Now in our second year, we’re just getting started and it’s heartening to see the impact of the trailblazers who make this work possible.
Pictured above: On Wednesday, Supt. Tom Boasberg moderated an apprenticeship student panel at Abraham Lincoln High School.
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Located in southwest Denver, students at this dual-language school learn math, reading and writing in both English and Spanish. ¡Vamos!