The hidden gem of FCPS: “Earn and Learn” with the Youth Apprenticeship Program

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The hidden gem of FCPS: “Earn and Learn” with the Youth Apprenticeship Program

With the Youth Apprenticeship Program, students have the opportunity to

With the Youth Apprenticeship Program, students have the opportunity to "earn and learn" in a field of their choosing.

With the Youth Apprenticeship Program, students have the opportunity to "earn and learn" in a field of their choosing.

With the Youth Apprenticeship Program, students have the opportunity to "earn and learn" in a field of their choosing.

by Cara Bond and Alison Gagne

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/m2t2m

The emphasis is on students to prepare their path for the future. Along with receiving an education, high school students have countless opportunities to ease their transition from school into the work world. From the more education-based programs available at the Career and Tech Center (CTC) to the hands-on experience of work study, there’s an option for everyone.

Additionally, Frederick County is one of two counties in Maryland that offers a lesser-known program: the Youth Apprenticeship Program. It’s similar to the more popular programs like work study, but is set apart by the environment of the apprenticeship and the types of skills acquired.

The Youth Apprenticeship Program currently offers positions in STEM-related occupations: Health and Biological Sciences, Business Management and Finance, Information Technology, and more.

“It [The Youth Apprenticeship Program] differs from work study in that the positions that students fill for the apprenticeship are positions that students might want to go into right after high school,” said Mrs. Jennifer Radil-Harris, business teacher. “The goal of work study is more about making money and gaining work experience. It’s not always in a field that the student is interested in.”

The Youth Apprenticeship Program is more in-depth than work study. While work study participants might be able to complete their study in a semester, a youth apprentice will have to dedicate at least 450 hours with their employer. This kind of commitment is what prepares the student to work in that field – or even that position – in the future.

An apprenticeship differs from an internship in terms of number, pay, and time. Internships greatly outnumber apprenticeships in the United States; however, internships are managed for significantly less time. An internship can be completed over the course of a semester and a summer, while an apprenticeship can take up to a few years to complete.

Similarly, apprenticeships are more financially stable than internships. Interns are paid significantly less than apprentices, and there is no guarantee that they will gain a full time position after their internship. On the other hand, along with having a higher pay grade, apprentices are almost guaranteed a job once the program is complete.

“This program was created to address the current workforce shortage,” said Dr. Kristine Pearl, Career and Technology Education Supervisor. “Many industries in Frederick cannot find employees with the skills or training for their industries. This program primarily targets careers that do not necessarily require a four year degree.”

As apprentices, students can work in a professional environment and receive training that is specific to the field. They’re offered the chance to learn valuable skills that cannot be taught in a high school class. Skills such as communication, problem solving, and time management are also strengthened by the time spent as an apprentice.

Apprenticeship Maryland provides high school juniors and seniors with academic and occupational skills leading to both a high school diploma and a State Skill Certificate,” said Pearl.

Class of 2019 member Payton Hornig is an apprentice with the Trivergent Health Alliance at the Rosehill branch of Frederick Memorial Hospital.

“I chose the Youth Apprenticeship Program because it’s a wonderful opportunity,” said Hornig. “You get to meet so many great people and learn new techniques you didn’t have before.”

As an apprentice, Hornig has gotten hands-on training in the world of medical science. Not only has she been taught technical skills, such as patient registration and lab work, but she has also learned more practical skills through her daily communication with patients and technicians alike.

“I would definitely recommend this program to other students because you learn so much and gain so many new skills,” said Hornig. “If I could do this all four years [of high school], I would.”

Hornig has already been offered a full time position with her employers at Rosehill.

The career-specific positions, increased income opportunity, and extensive training all make the Youth Apprenticeship Program something that would be useful in helping a student decide on a career.

“I think that nobody knows where to look for information,” said Radil-Harris. “And if students don’t know anything about a program, they’re probably not going to join it.”

The more well-known alternatives to the program, namely work study, can be helpful to students. However, for students that are looking for a more career-specific and detailed opportunity, Radil-Harris thinks the Youth Apprenticeship Program would be the best fit.

“It allows students to try out a job or a career field before they graduate,” said Radil-Harris. “They’re given thorough training, with the goal being that the student will be qualified to fill the position at the end of their apprenticeship.”

To find out more information about the Youth Apprenticeship Program, visit fcps.org/academics/apprentice-program. The forms for employers and students, as well as a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) is available here.

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