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Youth Apprentice Program

What is the Youth Apprentice Program?

Students involved in the Youth Apprentice Program take their normal high school programs and also travel to Trident Technical College two to three days per week where they are enrolled in dual credit classes in a specific area. They also apprentice at an area company for about 10 hours per week. During the summer between the junior and senior year, the students work full-time as paid apprentices.

The Chamber, through it’s Accelerate Greater Charleston fund, contributes funding for Youth Apprentices to cover classes and textbooks. Youth Apprentices finish the program with zero college debt.

At the end of the two-year program, students will have earned a high school diploma, 30 hours of college credit in an industry-specific field from Trident Tech, credentialing from the U.S. Department of Labor and two years of paid work experience.

If your company would like to hear about Youth Apprenticeships, please contact Mitchell Harp or Robin Willis.

By The Numbers

For the 2018/2019 Academic Year:

  • 92 Youth Apprentices
  • 54 Employer/Hosts
  • 17 Youth Apprentice Pathways including:
    • Industrial Mechanics
    • Machining
    • Culinary Arts
    • Hotel Operations
    • EMT
    • CNA to Pre-Nursing
    • Medical Office Assistant
    • Computer Programming
    • Computer Networking
    • Cyber Security
    • Civil CAD Tech
    • Automotive Tech
    • HVAC
    • Security/Pre-Law Enforcement
    • Pre-Accounting
    • Engineering Assistant – Engineering Pathway (PLTW)
    • Engineering Assistant- Engineering Technician Pathway (PLTW)


A group of business and community leaders visited the Alamo Academies in San Antonio as part of the 2013 Metro Leadership Visit. The Alamo Academies are different than traditional Career Academies in that high school students attend the local community college at the same time they are completing high school and intern with a local employer.

Following the visit, Trident Technical College created the new Workforce Academies as a Youth Apprenticeship program for high school juniors and seniors. The Chamber, in partnership with Trident Technical College, Apprenticeship Carolina and six area manufacturing firms launched a pilot program in August 2014 with 13 area high school juniors.

At the end of the pilot year, the program was expanded and today includes 30 area companies and 62 high school students.


In 2017, SunTrust Foundation granted $20,000 to the Chamber in support of the Youth Apprenticeship program. In addition, SunTrust made a significant gift of support called the “Lighting The Way” award in the amount of $25,000 – bringing their total support in 2017 to $45,000. For 2018, they have granted us $13,500.

The annual Mad City Money financial literacy workshop for Youth Apprentices is made possible through support from The SunTrust Foundation. OriginSC, in collaboration with the Chamber, SunTrust and Trident Tech, deliver this interactive simulation where students are given a profile and income and determine a budget in a real-life setting.