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Apprentice Highlight | José, DPS Career Connect

By Mary Knight | Communications Associate, CareerWise

School was never something that came easy for José

In his first three years at Northfield High School, he struggled to connect the dots between his classroom courses and the real world. 

“I was failing a lot of my classes; I didn’t really see the point in being in high school; it just wasn’t for me,” said José.

With a declining GPA and unsure of what was next, he sat down with the school principal to discuss his options. The principal gave him a challenge: he would connect José with an opportunity to be a CareerWise Colorado apprentice for Denver Public Schools, if José put more effort into his classes and raised his grades.

José accepted the challenge, and now, in his senior year of high school, is almost a year into his apprenticeship as a database administrator apprentice for DPS Career Connect. José works alongside the team’s Salesforce administrator, learning the software database and is currently working on completing his Salesforce Administrator certification.

The mentorship-oriented, hands-on learning environment apprenticeship offers has helped him retain new skills and knowledge easier than when he is in a classroom setting. His grades have improved, as well. José is confident in his skills and abilities, and now has a clear understanding of how he’ll apply them to life after high school. 

“I’m actually starting to do projects by myself and tracking them on my own,” said José. “I’m really starting to feel like an adult.” 

Finding value in his apprenticeship, José wanted to expand his hours, so CareerWise Colorado recently hired him as an apprentice to work as part of its IT team in its offices.

José pitched me really well on his skillset,” said Armen Rashidyan, customer success manager at CareerWise Colorado. “He told me he had experience working with Salesforce, coding and other skills he’d picked up himself or through school. He had a pretty broad offering coming into the apprenticeship.”

José knows his apprenticeship experience has opened doors for him in terms of his future career.

“This apprenticeship has really helped define what I want to do in life,” said José. “Even if I want to go to college later, it gives me more flexibility financially so I don’t have to go into debt.”