Nothing inspires pride like a little recognition, and Charleston got plenty of national recognition this week at the Youth Apprenticeship Signing Day, hosted by the Chamber and Trident Tech.
Dr. Amy Firestone from the U.S. Department of Labor, keynote speaker at signing day, announced that Charleston will host the first ever national high school apprenticeship study tour. 75 industry and education leaders from across the country will visit this fall to learn about our program and the partnership between employers and educators.
We’ve ramped up from six manufacturing companies hiring 13 student apprentices in 2014 to nearly 100 companies hiring 130 new and returning apprentices in 2017.
Apprenticeships are offered in 15 pathways including industrial mechanics, IT programming and hotel operations.
To join the Youth Apprentice Program, students go through an interview process similar to applying for a job. They take normal high school classes and attend career-specific classes two days per week at Trident Tech. They are also a paid apprentice employee at an area company for about 10 hours per week. During the summer between the junior and senior year, the students work full-time in their apprenticeship.
At the end of the two-year program, students have earned:
- A high school diploma
- 30 hours of college credit
- Credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor
- Two years of paid work experience
They are also debt free, well on their way to earning their associates degree, and many are offered a full-time job with good starting pay and benefits.
Dr. Firestone said, “The model you have here… is one we want to replicate around the country.” That’s good news because our program is changing lives for Lowcountry students. That’s something to be proud of.
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