As Denver Public Schools kicks off its ninth-annual College and Career Readiness Month, some students have already begun gaining hands-on experience in college and career – the CareerConnect Apprenticeship Program combines free college credits with paid work experience. They are showcasing their immersive work-based learning, which provides them with transferable professional skills needed after graduating from high school and gives them a competitive advantage in the workforce.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, student apprentices gathered at Abraham Lincoln High School to participate in an interactive panel, moderated by Superintendent Tom Boasberg, and shared their unique experiences apprenticing at local businesses first-hand, before giving a tour of their Concurrent Enrollment college classrooms. Panelists included student apprentices from the current program cohort at both ALHS and High Tech Early College, as well as their pathways directors.
“Where my parents come from— everything is impossible. 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,” said Jacqueline Marquez-Cavoya, a junior at ALHS and business apprentice at 2-10 Homebuyer’s Warranty.
The DPS CareerConnect Apprenticeship Program, offered in partnership with CareerWise Colorado, is a groundbreaking three-year program that combines paid work experience and college credit. Strengthening professional skills gives students a competitive advantage in the workforce. For DPS students, the apprenticeship program is offered in five high-growth industries including finance and technology. Students complete the program with college credit, industry certification and the meaningful work experience that enables them to step into a career and/or continue their higher education and industry training.
“It takes a lot of perseverance— and that can’t be overlooked,” said Emily Takimoto, DPS CareerConnect Work-based Learning Coordinator at HTEC.
Throughout the month of October, DPS is celebrating College and Career Readiness Month and high schools are encouraging students to take advantage of the various college- and career-ready programs available to them to help them reach their dreams and to build their plans for their futures.