Westminster School District is making youth apprenticeships happen! This relatively small district (only one traditional high school and one alternative high school) will place 13
CareerWise youth apprentices this coming year — eight in nursing, two in coding, two as legal assistants, and one in culinary. Amazing.
What is their secret sauce that helps them recruit and place so many students as apprentices? A good guess would point to a dedicated staff — especially at the Future Center and in the CTE department; the productive use of data; and a history of being strong advocates for their students.
The Future Center at Westminster High is staffed by three dedicated professionals: Yvette De LaCruz, Victoria Rimmey, and Laura Hafemann. (Yvette was the recipient of a CareerWise award two years ago and is a member of our partner advisory council.) These staff are committed to helping Westminster students find the best path for them during and after high school, and when they meet with each student, they let them know about available youth apprenticeships that might be a good fit. Then they help the student through the application process, even giving them a nudge when needed.
Beyond the Future Center — from the CTE director to all the teachers — staff at Westminster go out of their way to help recruit students for apprenticeships. This has meant inviting CareerWise staff to present to all CTE teachers so they can be more familiar with the program; it has meant having teachers invite CareerWise staff into their classroom for a brief presentation about available positions; and it has meant approaching the district about hiring apprentices in various district positions; and more generally it has meant opening up doors to CareerWise to help bring apprenticeship opportunities to students.
Second, Westminster makes good use of student data to help recruit students for apprentices. Each sophomore takes a career inventory, which helps identify which careers might be a good fit for his or her interests and abilities. Members of the Future Center team regularly use this list to help identify students who might be a good fit for an apprenticeship and then reach out to them. This use of data can be especially helpful when we need to move quickly, such as when a position is posted late in the hiring cycle. For instance, this year Westminster was able to quickly identify students interested in the culinary field and let them know about some great new positions downtown. One of their students was hired by the Hyatt Regency!
Finally, part of their secret sauce is a strong history of advocating for their students, whether it means helping them apply to college, enter the world of work, or secure a youth apprenticeship. It is inspiring to see the lengths to which staff in this district will go to bat for individual students and for their futures.