By Mary Knight | Communications Specialist, CareerWise USA
From a young age, Reade knew he had a love for technology, and specifically a passion for computers. How did these devices, constructed from physical parts, store and process data similar to a human brain? The science and engineering behind it all truly fascinated him.
As a high school student at STEM School Highlands Ranch, Reade had the opportunity to study information technology, but still was unsure as to what his post-secondary path would look like.
“I knew I wanted to do something with computers, but I didn’t have a full understanding of what specifically I wanted to go into. It’s a very broad topic,” said Reade.
In 2018, Reade’s mom, Stephanie, was eager to have him and his brother Lucas engage in the IT field through a CareerWise modern youth apprenticeship to give them hands-on learning experience and perspective on careers while still in high school.
After applying, Reade was offered and accepted an apprenticeship position at Arrow Electronics, a Fortune-500 company headquartered in Centennial, Colo.
The experience gave him the opportunity to work in many different areas of the company throughout his apprenticeship, including being a part of the networking team, managing security violations and learning about the company’s main data center. The exposure to different roles in technology helped Reade focus on cyber security.
Fast forward to 2021, Reade is now a full-time employee at Arrow Electronics working as a desktop support associate, troubleshooting computer hardware and software issues for team members.
Not only has he launched his career, but Reade is also pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and computer and information systems through an online program offered at the University of Colorado Denver. Being a full-time employee and college student is not for everyone, but Arrow has been exceptionally accommodating, allowing him to work a weekly hybrid schedule of three days in the office and two days at home.
“Arrow has made it extremely easy for me to work full-time and go to college,” said Reade. “They’ve been very lenient on their work from home policy, allowing me to focus on both my schoolwork and my job.”
Having the work-based learning experience of apprenticeship really helps advance a high school student’s career and personal development in comparison to young people who may have not had a similar experience. Reade certainly feels grateful he had the opportunity to be an apprentice and get a head start gaining work experience and finding his professional passion.
“It’s very rare to see people my age in the area of the company I’m in,” said Reade. “It’s been nothing but great for me; I’ve had awesome opportunities to network with people and really expand my knowledge in the computer field.”
Reade shares how fellow co-workers often think he’s older than he is, a testament to his growth throughout his apprenticeship and transition into full-time work, something which his parents have witnessed first-hand.
“As a parent, to see your child mature as quickly as they have in this program–from being a high-school sophomore and then getting into a program like this, it just made their personalities blossom…it’s just been incredible, absolutely incredible,” said Stephanie.
Reade’s dad, Paul, agrees that the CareerWise apprenticeship program has definitely been invaluable for his sons.
“I will take any opportunity I can to talk about this program,” said Paul. “I speak about this program to all my friends who have kids in other programs where it’s not available and tell them to talk to administrators about getting the [CareerWise] program on board because it is nothing short of amazing.”