The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by highlighting a pair of Missouri programs that have placed a key focus on workforce development and preparing Missouri students for success beyond graduation.
Eldon Career Center
At the Eldon Career Center, more than 40 students have participated in the apprenticeship program in just two years, with each having motivating and successful stories. But for Cynthia Walker, the Center’s Registered Apprenticeship Coordinator, one story in particular stood out:
“One of our students stayed in many homes during his first years of middle and high school and spent time at many different schools. When he arrived to our program, the instructor immediately noticed his raw talent and determination to one day become a mechanic. After working with him, he was selected as a Registered Apprentice. He is now a senior who works for a local automotive company that recently contacted us to report that he had been selected to compete for a full scholarship at Renken Technical College. Through on-the-job training, he leaves after his required academic classes in the morning and goes to work each day. This young person has shown that regardless of circumstances, students who work hard and earn their positions based on their performance are rewarded with a sense of pride and self-gratification.”
Walker will be the first to tell anyone who will listen that the old “vo-tech” stigma is no long what programs like the one at Eldon do or produce. They meet all students regardless of income or academic standing where they are to try and create a pathway of career success. They are developing engineers, teachers, nurses, construction workers, marine technicians, law enforcement personnel, drafters, IT specialists, and automotive technicians out of their program alone.
Apprenticeships have many benefits for students and school administrators alike, as participants get training while putting their classroom knowledge and skills to work for a business. Apprenticeships also help improve student engagement and may be reflected in a district’s graduate follow-up report. Learn more about the Registered Youth Apprenticeship program and its impact on a school district here.
Bolivar High School
“Employer Driven, Community Focused, Learning for Life.” In the small rural town of Bolivar under the aforementioned motto, currently 15 apprentices are training in a variety of career paths through the Registered Youth Apprenticeship program at Bolivar High School. Here, students apply for positions, the district sets up the interviews with the employers, and the employer decides which students to hire. Industry partners in this community are putting their own hard-earned dollars as an investment into their local students.
“The key to industry buy-in in small town USA is helping them to realize that they are training their future employees or workforce,” said Betty Glasgow, the BoMO Works Apprenticeship & Internship program coordinator at BHS.
One story of success that Glasgow shares is about Jacob – a 16-year-old student working in the area of Continuous Improvement. Jacob has an excellent GPA and attendance percentage, and he is interested in the engineering field. His apprenticeship program has him monitoring the productivity of adults on the assembly line. While some students might be intimidated by that, Jacob has shown to be a quiet – yet focused – young man who has been very successful in his apprenticeship on a daily basis.
Can your organization benefit from the skills of a Registered Apprentice? Visit our site today to learn more about how everyone – from students and administrators to employers – can make an investment in the future workforce.