KCPS, local businesses partner in apprenticeship program

WORTON — National Apprenticeship Week provides an opportunity for school systems to highlight how apprenticeship programs prepare students for careers.

Kent County Public Schools is joining the National Apprenticeship Week celebration this week, Nov. 13-19, and recognizing its local community partners.

As stated by the U.S. Department of Labor, National Apprenticeship Week brings together employers, trades associations, community organizations, school systems and local
officials to showcase the importance of apprenticeship programs.

All 24 school systems in the state participate in the Apprenticeship Maryland program, which aims to create for students long-term employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and career and technical education (CTE) pathways.

“Though small, Kent County hosts a mighty array of industries and businesses, and our apprenticeship program seeks to recognize the instructional value these partners hold for our students,” Tom Porter, Kent County Public Schools’ coordinator for accountability and career and technical education, said in a news release.

In recognizing National Apprenticeship Week, the U.S. Department of Labor credits apprenticeships with rebuilding the economy, establishing a pipeline to quality employment and providing support for underserved communities.

Kent County Public Schools has built partnerships with a number of local businesses registered with the state for Apprenticeship Maryland opportunities.

The apprenticeship program is open to Kent County High School students.

“The apprenticeship program at Kent County High School is important for preparing students for successful futures by bridging the gap between academic knowledge and real-world application,” Brett King, the college and career counselor at KCHS, said in the news release.

“Engaging in apprenticeships allows students to gain hands-on experience, cultivating practical skills that are invaluable in their chosen fields,” he added.

High school students may enter the Apprenticeship Maryland program at the start of their junior or senior year.

Through the program, they will complete at least 450 hours of training while working with a registered employer.

There also is an instructional component for students to complete, which can be offered by either the employer or the school system.

“This immersive learning experience not only enhances students’ academic achievements but also equips them with the essential tools and insights needed for a seamless transition into a career they can be successful in and feel passionate about doing,” King said.

Registered employer partners with Kent County Public Schools include Chesapeake CNC Manufacturing Center, Greenscapes Land Care LLC, Owings and Sons Inc. and Red Acres Hydroponics and Farm Venue.

“We are eager to partner with local businesses to expand our apprenticeship program so that more students in Kent County Public Schools will have access to on-the-job training and will graduate more prepared to contribute to their communities,” Porter said in the news release.

Students interested in apprenticeship opportunities should contact King at bking@kent.k12.md.us.

Contact Porter for additional program information at tporter@kent.k12.md.us.

Local employers interested in joining the Apprenticeship Maryland program can fill out an application at www.doit.state.md.us/selectsurvey/EligibleEmployer#.

Trish McGee, owner and publisher of The Evening Enterprise, is an elected member of the Kent County Board of Education. She did not contribute to this article.

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