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Future of Work | Gen Z |

Yumna Ali: Applying Apprenticeship to Academics

By Adam Vitcavage

Yumna Ali recognized the importance of looking ahead and acquiring the necessary skills for the future. She believed that a youth apprenticeship could not only fulfill her desire to earn money like other teenagers, but also equip her with a valuable set of tools to become a better student and prepare for her future in the workforce.

As a rising Junior at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy, Yumna embarked on her apprenticeship with the Denver International Airport (DIA). She quickly realized that the benefits extended beyond financial gain. “I understood that it would be a great opportunity to familiarize myself with the work environment. School doesn’t teach you much about office etiquette and professionalism,” said Yumna. “The skills I acquired have proven applicable in school, particularly in communication, organization, and time management. It greatly assisted me in working effectively in group projects and collaborating while managing time.”

These skills seamlessly transferred from the apprenticeship to the classroom, providing Yumna with enhanced clarity when it came to assignment deadlines and prioritization. “I can apply everything I’ve learned,” said Yumna. “I observe some classmates struggling with their schoolwork and fail to recognize the importance of meeting deadlines. As an apprentice, I learned that deadlines are non-negotiable and that late submissions are unacceptable.”

Throughout her apprenticeship, Yumna remained focused on maintaining good grades at school. She balanced a full academic and work schedule with the understanding that her efforts were not solely for the sake of grades and a paycheck; she was investing in her future.

In the end, all the skills Yumna acquired paid off. Leveraging her professional experience as a youth apprentice, she became one of three Denver Public Schools students to receive the prestigious Boettcher Foundation Scholarship. Established in 1952, the program provides Colorado’s brightest students with the opportunity to pursue higher education within the state.

In the Fall, Yumna plans to attend Colorado College while simultaneously completing the final year of her apprenticeship.