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Building skills through apprenticeship

Written by Naisha Dorsey, Work-Based Learning Specialist, Office of College and Career Readiness

Jeremiah Foote, an automotive Career and Technical Education (CTE) senior at Forest Park high school, is getting paid during the school day to perfect his craft and skills in diesel mechanics. How is this possible—Jeremiah is the first City Schools’ student to begin as a youth apprentice with City Schools’ first youth apprenticeship site, Efficiency Enterprises!

This youth apprenticeship, earn-while-you-learn model, is through the state of Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program, Apprenticeship Maryland. By 2030, 45% of City School seniors will either need to complete a youth apprenticeship program or earn an industry certification to meet the new college and career standards as outlined in the Maryland Blueprint. The field of diesel mechanics is a great starting point as the industry is in high demand for talent like Jeremiah and provides entry and seasoned level career pathways that provide family sustaining wages.

This opportunity started for Jeremiah in May 2022, during a fielJeremiah at Efficiency d trip to Efficiency Enterprises. Students in the automotive CTE pathway from various schools went on an in-person company tour of Efficiency’s facility and had a chance to meet their mechanics. The tour also included a recruitment session with Stacy Shuman and Josh Petz, Efficiency’s HR and Marketing team for this pilot youth apprenticeship program.

After the tour, Jeremiah assured Mr. Petz that he would see him again. Taking advantage of the information shared about the apprenticeship program and with guidance and assistance from his automotive teachers Mr. Markely and Mr. Strayham, Jeremiah applied and was accepted as the first student to participate.

The Efficiency Youth Apprenticeship allowed Jeremiah to work full days during the summer and half days during the school year. He works closely with various employees to build his foundational automotive skills and apply it to the maintenance and repair of a diesel fleet. This includes tire rotations, oil changes, and various other skills. One of the first ways the program supported Jeremiah was providing him with his own toolbox so he could begin to accumulate the tools he will need for his trade. This is an asset that will be taken with him regardless of which postsecondary pathway he decides to pursue after graduating in June 2023.

Mr. Petz, stated, “Jeremiah been an asset to this company because of his youthful energy and his passion for the transportation industry.”  “Him coming in everyday with his can-do attitude shows that the future of our industry is very bright.”

Jeremiah will continue to get paid to earn his 450 of on-the-job training hours during the 2022-2023 school year.  He has hopes of being hired full-time upon graduation or entering Efficiency’s adult apprenticeship program. Efficiency is eager to expand this earn-while-you learn opportunity to other schools and advocate for other companies to create similar youth apprenticeships. 

This is just one of many real-life examples of how CTE, combined with a high school education provides multiple pathways to a livable wage career for students.

To learn more about CTE and the opportunities it could provide you in your high school experience as you prepare for life after high school, please visit our website.

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