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Back to School—Apprenticeship Style

During the past few weeks students across the country have returned to school. Old friends are reunited, new friendships are formed, and nerves quickly subside as the unfamiliar becomes familiar again. What’s left are fresh starts that fuel hope and optimism.

Up until a couple of years ago in America, this scene has played out almost exclusively in the hallways, classrooms and cafeterias in schools. Increasingly, back to school is looking a little different as more and more students are electing to apply their classroom lessons to the workplace as apprentices.

Iomy (pictured here) and the rest of our first-year apprentices—more than 170 students that applied last spring and were hired by businesses such as Arrow Electronics, Frontier Airlines, Home Advisor and Pinnacol Assurance, will be adjusting to their new schedules as they spend part of their time at school and part of their time in the workplace, learning alongside professionals in advanced manufacturing, business operations, financial services, healthcare and IT. They’ve been prepared for the rigor of the program, but they’ll experience first-hand that apprenticeship isn’t an easy way to get out of some classes. It’s truly a meaningful experience that prepares them for modern, high-growth, high-pay careers.

Second-year apprentices are also returning to school. Like Joanna, these apprentices’ eyes have already been opened to the possibilities apprenticeship presents them. They’ll be in high school classes less this year than their first-year counterparts, and in their professional learning environments more. In many cases, this is the year they’ll earn a professional certification. And in every case, they’re less a trainee, and much more of a meaningful contributor to their employers’ projects and bottom-lines.

The veteran third-year apprentices like Gabriel have graduated high school and are finding their own path to career success. In many cases, this means taking employer-funded college courses that make them even more valuable as employees. Some are taking additional college courses as they work approximately 30 hours a week, and some are maximizing their hours at work. Third-year apprentices are dialing in their skills and competencies (and resumes!), that get them ready to step into full-time roles, bolster their college applications with meaningful experience…or both.

Even though apprenticeship conjures different back-to-school visions, one thing remains constant, even amplified: hope and optimism. By innovating education and creating additional learning environments for students and aligning them with industry needs, more students will have more opportunity.

Learn more about opportunities for students here!