Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

Apprenticeships for High School Students is a Doable Option By DARLA MILLER We often associate the word apprenticeship as a program designed for an individual that has finished high school and works at either an entry level or intermediate type job in the skilled trades field. Often they are looking to perfect their skills while earning more money and advancing in the company. In the article Apprenticeships: Occupations and Outlook featured in the November 2017 of Career Outlook, Elka

credit toward graduation. YRA may be part-time or full-time at various times of the year. These are paid positions and are required to follow federal and state labor laws. Part-time employment and hours worked will be determined by the employer. Unlike other work-based learning opportunities the related technical instruction for a YRA must be occupation specific. High school seniors that follow their academic career plans, can finish graduation requirements before the end of their senior year. Students that finish all related coursework have the option of a Registered Apprenticeships (RA). As with YRA, RAs should be undertaken in consultation with DOLI’s Division of Registered Apprenticeship. RA is a career preparation HQWBL method that is industry-driven. It differs from a Youth Registered apprenticeship the following ways. Employers usually develop the high-quality career pathways to prepare their future workforce. Individuals can obtain paid work experience, occupation specific instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally recognized credential. Registered apprenticeships combine OJT with RTI which provides occupation specific knowledge relating to the profession. Unlike YRA programs that utilize high school CTE classes, registered apprentices training is based on national industry standards and can be customized to the needs of the employer. Training may be provided by technical schools, community colleges, online, or on-site by employer/sponsor. RTI requirements are determined by the sponsoring employer and based on a progressive wage schedule. Apprentices are paid employees of a company and receive pay increases as they meet benchmarks for skill attainment. Apprentices must be paid at least the state or federal minimum hourly wage (whichever is higher). Upon completion of a Registered Apprenticeship program, the apprentice receives a nationally recognized credential which consists of a completion certificate and journey worker card. The credential signifies to employers that journey worker(s) are fully qualified in that occupation. The student will: • gain employability and occupational skills • develop technical knowledge and skills necessary for a specific occupation through OJT and RTI • strengthen career awareness, workplace readiness skills, and personal development • receive employment experience and foster essential communication skills, workplace protocols, and etiquette • gain work experience • earn an industry-recognized, portable credential if an apprentice completes an adult registered apprenticeship program. Whether going the Youth Registered Apprenticeship or Registered Apprenticeship route, a student must be at least 16 years old and enrolled in a career and technical education program that lends itself to the specific occupational skills a student wants to learn. If you are an employer and the idea of hiring high school students or recent graduates may enable you to fill open positions in your company. Consider the benefits of a youth or registered apprenticeship program. Realize that you can develop and train your future workforce. How to get started, reach out to the Virginia Department of Labor’s (DOLI) Apprenticeship Division to learn about becoming a sponsor. Next work with the local school division. Often, they will have a work-based learning coordinator or adult education coordinator. Either one can help in identifying contacts or potential students looking for specific employment. DOLI says it best “Everybody Builds Virginia.” Darla Miller is Virginia ACTE’s new Executive Director. She started her new position on August 1. Miller recently retired after 17 years as Principal of Valley Career and Technical Center in Fishersville. In addition to her teaching experience, she served as Director of the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant for Augusta County Schools and an assistant principal for Valley Career and Technical Center. She has served in various leadership CTE roles during her career. Most recently, she has been a member-at-large on the VACTEA Board. V

Torpey defines “An apprenticeship is an arrangement in which you get hands-on training, technical instruction, and a paycheck—all at the same time. Apprentices work for a sponsor, such as an individual employer or a business-union partnership, who pays their wages and provides the training.” The article further states that formal apprenticeship programs usually last about 4 years, depending on the employer or occupation, although they may take as little as 12 months or as many as 6 years. Many of these programs are registered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). At the end of a registered apprenticeship program, apprentices get a nationally recognized certificate of completion as proof of their skills. In Virginia there are about 15,000 Registered Apprentices, compared to the over 300,000 jobs that remain unfilled. If we are to close this gap, employers need to rethink their hiring philosophy and look at the current class of high school students enrolled in career and technical education (CTE) concentrations. With the implementation of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate for the Class of 2022, the following graduation requirement is now in place -- Per Code of Virginia § 22.1-253.13:4, students are required to: (i) complete an Advanced Placement, honors, International Baccalaureate, or dual enrollment course; or (ii) complete a high-quality work-based learning experience, as defined by the Board; or (iii) earn a career and technical education credential that has been approved by the Board. For the Virginia Board of Education, this means that a youth registered apprenticeship (YRA) and registered apprenticeship training program as recognized by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry is considered a high-quality work-based learning experience and can be used by students to meet their graduation requirement. A YRA is a High-Quality Work-Based Learning method that integrates specific CTE curriculum and On-the-Job Training (OJT) to help students gain employability and occupational skills. The CTE programs provide Related Technical Instruction (RTI) based on the Virginia Department of Education’s statewide curriculum framework guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Licensed and endorsed CTE teachers and journey worker experts instruct youth apprentices. Apprentices, usually in the 11th or 12th grade are simultaneously enrolled in CTE classes to meet high school graduation requirements and receive occupation specific RTI. Additionally, the participating sponsor/employer provides supervision as a skilled mentor. Upon completion of a high school diploma, apprentices are encouraged to continue in the occupation as adult apprentices at the discretion of the employer/sponsor and will be subject to all standard OJT and RTI requirements. There are no minimum or maximum work hour requirements for student apprentices, but students who complete at least 280 OJT hours per year of YRA will receive an additional

V irginia C apitol C onnections , W inter 2023


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