Colorado’s First Modern Youth Apprentices Hit the Job Market

CareerWise’s first cohort, launched in 2017, honored on June 25 in virtual ceremony

DENVER – June 25, 2020 – CareerWise Colorado, the nation’s first cross-industry modern youth apprenticeship system, is honoring its first apprentices as they graduate the program and welcoming the most recent cohort in a virtual event this afternoon at 12:00 p.m. The program partners with high schools and employers to provide paid, three-year apprenticeships in professional work environments.

“Before my apprenticeship, I didn’t think I had a path forward. I was going to drop out of high school,” said Aujanique Porter. Porter was a business operations apprentice at Pinnacol Assurance, but has since been hired by the company into a full-time position. “Now I’m working for a company where I see a future, a good career. And I’m enrolled in college because it’s clear how that can help me be a more valuable employee or job candidate.”

In CareerWise’s pilot year, 40 employers across Colorado hired 116 youth apprentices to train for early-career positions in pathways such as business operations, information technology and financial services. Nearly two-thirds of the pilot cohort have gone on to successful outcomes.

“CareerWise set out to create more opportunity for more students,” said Noel Ginsburg, CareerWise founder and CEO. “These first apprentices have proven that this model provides those opportunities to young people while delivering tangible value to employers, and at scale, will help create a more equitable and inclusive economy.”

Eight apprentices have hired into full time roles at their employers, an additional 30 leveraged their experience to pursue higher-education goals and 37 pioneering apprentices completed the full-three years and are entering the job market with meaningful professional experience.

“Of course apprentices are learning the technical know-how of a particular job, but if there’s a lesson from the economy’s sudden plunge, it’s that America needs an adaptable, resilient workforce,” said Ginsburg. “It’s the essential soft skills apprentices learn through working alongside professionals—skills like collaboration, problem solving, communication—that are creating the conditions for the workforce of the future.”

Unlike internships, CareerWise apprenticeships fully prepare participants to step into full-time positions by blending of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction, typically over the course of three years. Students are recruited as rising juniors and split time between work and school for the first two years. The third year is spent at work and earning certifications and debt-free college credit.

On Thursday, June 25, CareerWise is holding a virtual version of its annual event Apprenticeship Rising. The ceremony welcomes the incoming cohort of apprentices and, for the first time, celebrates a graduating cohort. Join the livestream here: