Based on the idea that exposing students to the right kinds of real-world challenges earlier in their schooling can help them contextualize their learning, Apprentice Learning program strengthens the transition to high school and beyond to the worlds of work, college, and community.
Experiencing the world of work in early adolescence, fuels students’ curiosity about the kinds of activities that happen at work and reveals the skills adults use every day. As their apprenticeships progress, students begin to converse about their own hopes and dreams. Listening to how adults arrived in their current jobs informs students’ interests, motivates and encourages persistence as a skill needed for success. The opportunity to aim for a career is an end goal that is meaningful and speaks to student’s interests. Concrete workplace activities often naturally draw on science, math, and language arts skills so that, over time, students come to understand why these are important for their success as adults.
Some of the program’s impact is near-term: students learn important workplace habits and understand different workplaces and their distinct cultures; in many cases students use academic skills in a work setting, reinforcing knowledge acquisition. Additionally, students come to know new resources, opportunities, and people within their communities and across the city. Over the long-term, students with a better understanding of their own career interests can make thoughtful choices about high school and coursework leading to advanced training or a degree. And participating students are more interested in and ready for part-time jobs earlier in high school. They’ll have an edge in negotiating better pay, too.