Experts Gathered to Share Insights on Equitable, Sustainable Pre-Apprenticeships in Linked Learning Pathways
Education is not a one-size fits all; while some students have plans to attend college after high school, others are looking to pursue a different post-secondary path, and an increasing number of students struggle to connect class content to their interests and talents. Career-technical education and rigorous academics connected to high-impact industries help students connect to careers that are in high demand. Solidifying pathways for students and creating seamless transitions are critical to engage students to build industry skills, generate a network of industry contacts, and experience careers before graduation. Pre-apprenticeships is one strategy that is gaining interest. Pre-apprenticeships offer students industry-standard training, mentorship, wraparound services, direct placement with Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP), and support with career advancement.
On Wednesday, May 11th, experts in the pre-apprenticeship and Linked Learning field gathered for a roundtable discussion on implementing pre-apprenticeship programs in the high school setting. Topics stemmed from the experience of Hemet Unified School District, as they have made the commitment to register multiple pre-apprenticeship programs including carpentry, welding, automotive, cybersecurity, viticulture, and water technology. The process of registering a pre-apprenticeship is relatively straightforward, but understanding the benefits as well as the process itself is not widely understood by the K12 community of educators and administrators. Laura Gallardo, the Director of CTE for Hemet Unified School District and Linked Learning Fellow, moderated a panel of experts that have experience in this area of CTE. The panel participants were:
- Tom Oxford, Apprenticeship Director, Mt. San Jacinto College
- Victor Rodriguez, Senior Apprenticeship Consultant, Division of Apprenticeship Standards
- Pam Knapp, Director of College and Career Readiness, San Joaquin County Office of Education
- Jeffery Scott, Pre-apprenticeship Outreach Specialist, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters
Panelists explained the basics of pre-apprenticeships and addressed key issues of finding industry partners, registering the pre-apprenticeship, and working with a local community college to set up a program of study.
Key takeaways from the panelists were that pre-apprenticeships offer students high quality work-based learning and experience and are viable routes into high demand careers. They encouraged listeners to look at what they are already doing in CTE and make connections to local industries. They also stressed that Pre-apprenticeship are possible in all industries, not just the trades.
In the end all panelists agreed: “Just do it, reach out and start connecting!”