Youth Apprenticeships: What Teens Want | Apprenticeship | Secondary School

Youth Apprenticeships

What Teens Want

Student Excerpts from a 2002 Harry Singer Foundation National Essay Contest

Youth Apprenticeships What Teens Want
Margaret Bohannon-Kaplan, Editor

Wellington Publications W-P Carmel, California

The non-partisan Harry Singer Foundation was established in 1988 to promote greater individual participation in government and involvement in social issues. The views expressed here are those of the various students who chose to enter our essay contest and do not necessarily represent the views of the board members and staff of the Foundation.

First Printing Copyright 2008 by Wellington Publications Printed in USA All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. Inquiries should be addressed to Wellington Publications P.O. Box 223159 Carmel, California 93922 LCCN: 2007941745 ISBN: 978-0-915915-43-9

Editor's Note: In most cases, students gave the Foundation citations for the material that was quoted in their papers. Because of space constraints, we generally did not include those citations here. Also, in rare instances, material was quoted by students and incorporated in their papers without giving proper credit. We apologize, but must disclaim responsibility as we cannot always tell when a student is quoting from another writer unless quotation marks are used. This is purely an educational exercise.

Who is Harry Singer?
Most people have never heard of Harry Singer. He wasn't a famous politician, a philanthropic industrialist, a creative artist, a martyred preacher or a great inventor-humanitarian. Harry Singer was a common man. Harry was an immigrant. He came to this country in 1912 from a small village in Russia. He settled in Chelsea, Massachusetts where with his wife and five children he ran a tiny neighborhood grocery store. Harry could have been your uncle, your brother-in-law, your next door neighbor. He had no lust for power, no great ambitions. He was just a good, kind, quiet man with a keen sense of justice who would jump in when he felt something was wrong. Harry was an egalitarian who showed respect for all men and who was respected in return. It is fitting that a foundation dedicated to encouraging the common man's participation in public policy decisions should be named after Harry. For it is to the Harry Singers of a new generation that we must look if we are to keep America competitive and strong in the world of the twenty-first century. The Harry Singer Foundation came into being because the descendants of the humble egalitarian believe today what President Woodrow Wilson said back in 1912: "Every country is renewed out of the unknown ranks and not out of the ranks of those already famous and powerful and in control."

About The Harry Singer Foundation (HSF)
The Harry Singer Foundation is a non-profit 501(c) 3 private operating foundation (IRC: 4942 j 3) located in Carmel, California whose purpose is to promote responsibility and involve people more fully in public policy and their communities. It was founded in 1987. It actively conducts programs, and is not a grant-making foundation. The founders believe many people base their decisions on erroneous or too little factual information about public policy, private and public programs, and the effort and goodwill of their fellow citizens. The Harry Singer Foundation has developed programs to help correct this situation, and would like to join with you in helping to make this nation a stronger and better place to live and grow for this generation and generations of Americans to come. The Foundation's focus is on the too often forgotten average citizen. We are not consciously looking to attract future leaders; we feel that job is being handled adequately by a variety of existing foundations. Our goal is to minimize the polarization we see developing in this country between the doers and those done to — the rulers and the ruled. We strive to make everyone feel that their thoughts and ideas count; to let them know that they are listened to and that they matter. We want our fellow citizens to understand that a person doesn't have to be brilliant or a great communicator in order to make a difference in America. A person does have to care and does have to participate.

Action
It is not enough to think, write and talk about the problems—we must show by active example what people are capable of achieving. The goal is to find out what works within a desired framework. When participants learn how to choose what to do without sacrificing the best American ideals to expediency, the Foundation will provide the opportunity to put some of their ideal choices to the test. The Foundation first concentrated on young people because they are open and eager to learn, are not saddled with a myriad of other social responsibilities (like raising a family and making their own living) and they will be around the longest and therefore have the best opportunity to make iii

their projects work. They are ideal experimenters because time is on their side.

Pilot Projects
We bring people together to network at our headquarters in Carmel, California. When participants come up with ideas, HSF provides the opportunity to put to the test, those ideas that garner the most enthusiastic response. We do this via pilot projects and interacting with grant-making entities as well as far-sighted businesses. Most businesses rightly have more than altruistic motives. Their main concerns are about maintaining a stable and growth-oriented economy and finding responsible employees. As a side benefit, many of our projects foster these, as well as purely altruistic goals. We know a pilot project has been successfully launched when it attracts enthusiastic volunteers that we call Champions. Champions are drawn to a specific pilot project because they share its objectives. Therefore they are eager to jump at the opportunity to bring aspirations to fruition by adding their own unique approach to managing and expanding the project without having to worry about funding. Of course HSF continues to provide guidance in addition to monetary support. Singer Kids 4 Kids was once a pilot project and Transition to Teaching was a pilot project renamed and adopted by the state of California and adapted to use in securing science and math mentors for California’s classrooms.

The HSF Mission
The Harry Singer Foundation mission is to prepare participants for a future where there may be less government and a weaker safety net. Such a future would require greater individual character, responsibility and knowledge. There may be a need for responsible people able to care for themselves and their less fortunate neighbors. The Foundation offers materials online, free of charge, which can be printed and used in the classroom or for individual education or research. The Workbook section of the HSF web site features data to encourage logical thinking and attention to the unintended consequences that often accompany government or personal solutions to perceived problems. HSF believes that society has encouraged technology and management while iv

neglecting principles. We need to consider not only can we do, but should we do. To that end you will find an introduction to the seldom taught subject of logic in this section along with frequently updated ethical dilemmas. Before one can either reflect or help others, one must survive. HSF has archived the thoughts of teens over a twenty year period in the Teens Speak Out and the Archived by State forums as well as in the published books that resulted from 41 of the 46 essay contests the Foundation conducted between 1988 and 2007. Although many of these teen authors now are adults with children of their own, their reflections are relevant to today's youth who must learn to make successful personal and social choices regarding their own ideology and careers. They too must withstand the peer pressure of gangs, violence, irresponsible sex and addictive substances. People change but the social issues remain.

The HSF Mission 1988-2008
The following article was written in 1995 by Amy Davidson, a free lance writer and linguistics student at the University of California at Berkeley at the time. This is the result of her observation of the Harry Singer Foundation during winter break her sophomore year.

Thought, Words and Action
One wouldn't think of Carmel, California, a small coastal town south of Monterey, as a hotbed for community action. However, nestled between the Cypress trees and the crashing surf, the small group of dedicated people at the Harry Singer Foundation are providing opportunities for Americans to make positive changes in their own communities, across the nation. Programs, designed for the general public but currently focusing on teachers and high school students -- including essay contests, community service project-development, online services, research materials, and curricula development-- all are ways that members of the non-profit Harry Singer Foundation are making a tangible difference in our nation. Founded to preserve both the ideal and the practice of freedom, "HSF aims to help people develop the skills and knowledge essential to the task," according to co-Founder Margaret Bohannon-Kaplan. "Our focus is on the v

average citizen, and our goal is to motivate him or her to make positive differences in America." Martha Collings, a teacher at Plainview High School in Ardmore, Oklahoma, whose high school students participate in annual HSF essay contests, praised them as "a refreshing change from the usual boring ones we are asked to enter." Her sentiment probably arose from the complex and educationally stimulating components of the contest. Students must incorporate first and second-hand research, classroom discussion, individual analysis, and come up with their own conclusions to timely topics like health care, the media's role in national elections, the government's role in child care, and the importance of responsibility to the proper functioning of the nation.. "This was one of the most challenging and thought-provoking contests my students have entered," said Janet Newton, a teacher from Freeman High School, Rockford, Washington. Another teacher, Jerry McGinley of DeForest High School in DeForest, Wisconsin agreed, saying, "My students put in a great deal of time and effort reading and discussing the various articles, writing out discussion the questions, and writing the essays." It is likely that these teachers also put in a great deal of time. The HSF contest includes materials and support (through online services, texts, and personnel from the foundation) for an entire lesson plan based around issues raised by the essay topic for a given year. HSF aims to have teachers discuss the topic with their students extensively before the actual writing begins. Teacher Mary Ellen Schoonover of Strasburg High school in Strasburg, Colorado spent a considerable amount of time on assignments and discussions related to the 1994 topic "Responsibility: Who has It and Who Doesn't and What This Means to the Nation." "I felt the Singer essay was a valuable instructional tool," she said. "I incorporated the materials into class by distributing the required reading essays and questions to use as homework assignments with class discussion

vi

following each week for four weeks. After discussing the essays, students chose a topic, and classes did library research." The result of this kind of preparation is thousands of well-researched analyses of a topic. The essays are judged by a variety of ordinary citizens and, depending on the topic, a large sampling of attorneys, academics, politicians, financial wizards, other teens and senior citizens. This works because schools are not judged against each other, but only internally, so each school ends up with awards. "That's the big attraction of our contest," explains board member, Donna Glacken. "Every school is a winner. That and the fact that we publish excerpts from the contest and distribute the hard copy book to all 535 members of congress and their state and community politicians and home town media."

Community Involvement Occurred Gradually
In the 1992-93 school year, the Harry Singer Foundation extended the reach of its programs. More than five thousand official candidates for national office (most of them unknown) were polled, along with schools and members of the media. Participants were able to see a comparison of poll results among the three categories. The 1993-94 subject of our essay contest: Responsibility: Who Has It and Who Doesn't and What That Means To The Nation, generated such an enthusiastic response that we decided to offer this contest as an annual option. According to contest rules, students were to include in their papers examples of five responsible acts and three irresponsible acts — we were trying to accentuate the positive. That first contest resulted in three feedback-books. The first book, The White Hats, featured the responsible acts. Numerous students offered more than their quota of irresponsible acts, many in the form of outrageous lawsuits which are the primary subject of the second book: Responsibility: Who Has It and Who Doesn't and What That Means To The Nation. Concealed among all the required examples was the subject of the third book titled, Doesn't Any One Care About The Children?. It is our plea to you in response to the cry we heard from over a thousand teenagers. Our readers were at times overwhelmed by the anguish, despair, rage and hopelessness found in many of the opinions and stories embedded in those essays. vii

In 1995 the Foundation had students poll their communities and question politicians, members of the local media, attorneys and others for their opinions regarding social needs as determined by the results of those polls. Solutions for "local governments struggling with limited resources" were judged by a dozen governors, and a small group consisting of U.S. senators, congressmen and big city mayors.

The National High School Essay Contest Comes to an End
For twenty years HSF offered recognition and incentives to every high school submitting at least ten essays covering a specified topic involving public policy and the role of government. Students have studied and written about social security, term limits for the United States Congress, government's role in child-care, government's role in health care, the media's role in choosing our candidates for national office, responsibility and even encouraged young people to work with local government to find alternatives to old ways of servicing citizen needs. Many students, and especially teachers, put an enormous amount of work into our programs. Students were given reading assignments and asked to answer twenty questions before they began their essays. Submittals were judged on how well the topic was covered and evidence of serious thinking, rather than on writing skill. In the fall excerpts were published in a book and distributed back to the schools as well as to members of Congress and to others interested in public policy. This allowed students to see how their peers across the country handled the subject matter. We launched www.singerfoundation.org in the fall of 1994. As more and more schools gained Internet access they were able to receive and transfer materials which we could put directly on our web site. Essays sent in digital form via email freed us from having to recruit volunteers who used the keyboard to input the work of students that used to arrive by mail as hard copy. In 2001 we began putting entire essays online, delaying publication of books like the one you are reading. At the end of 2006 we decided to resume publishing the students work in hard copy and to phase out the Foundation’s essay contest era. On our web site www.singerfoudation.org you will find the complete text of every HSF book published since 1990, often including the rules and required reading for the particular contest. You may browse, print the entire book or request a hard copy from the Foundation by using the contact information provided. viii

We certainly have not lost interest in the goals of the HSF national essay contests. We are particularly proud of our attempt to encourage students to gather facts and think logically. The Harry Singer Foundation continues to share the goal of those who teach students how to think, not what to think. To that end we have posted links to some of, what we consider to be, the best online essay contests offered by other organizations.

2008 Begins a New Era
Current Foundation programs continue to seek and encourage the exchange of ideas. We took two years to renovate our web site which hosts the Foundation’s history. Twenty years worth of student’s research and opinions may now be accessed by topic (Teens Speak Out) or by clicking on a state in the Archive forum and finding student ideas by school, teacher or participant. We have presented this information in a way that we believe visitors to our web site will find useful. You will also find on our web site new projects such as Kids 4 Kids and Transition to Teaching (T2T) which were mentioned earlier. Kids 4 Kids is expanding under the expert guidance of our Champion, Steve Platt and is now a full fledged program. While the science and math portion of T2T is in good hands, HSF is working to place volunteer mentors in subjects that are not on the State’s agenda. With the help of future Champions we expect the program to be picked up by states other than California. We are looking for Champions to contact engineering companies and societies, local artists, athletes and alumni associations to find members who are willing to donate time and energy to teach what they love including music, art and athletics, subjects that don’t necessarily have to be taught in a classroom. The Foundation wants to join with the numerous other groups and individuals who are trying to bring this uncovered talent into the school system as mentors, teacher-aids and accredited teachers. We already have a program of accreditation that can be completed with only one day a month class attendance for 12 months. The Philanthropy Project is collaboration between the Harry Singer Foundation and the Templeton Foundation. It is a national, multimedia public service campaign aimed at the general public, legislators, opinion leaders and the media. By using film and television to tell compelling stories about the good works, conducted by mostly small and unrecognized charitable foundations, the Philanthropy Project seeks to introduce philanthropy to young people and to promote the spirit of philanthropy in communities across the country. ix

Media Watch is a revision of an inspirational program for students initiated by the Harry Singer Foundation in 1994. The goal is to uncover good news in communities, feed it to local media outlets and monitor publication. Over the life of the project, the good news should increase in relation to the bad news, with both kinds being carefully documented. Another Way is the culmination of over twenty years of Foundation experience. We know most adults underestimate the capabilities of young people and their idealism, energy and eagerness to be productive members of their communities. Another Way gives young people an opportunity to prove their competence. Problem Solvers is a pilot project geared towards college and high school campuses. Students debate local and national issues using media (radio, TV, newspapers). Not only do the students learn, but their nonpartisan information would be a boon to the many in our society that find that regulations and even laws have been passed without their knowledge and opportunity to contribute to the discussion or dissent. The goal of the goal of the Human Nature project is not modest. The goal is to improve the chances that man will discover how to live with his kind in peace and tolerance, creating a free, stable environment. Once he figures out the necessary rules of conduct, the next step would be to figure out how to enforce these rules while preserving maximum individual and group freedom of thought and action. We invite you to take advantage of opportunities to participate in, or better yet, to Champion these pilot programs by visiting our newly renovated web site at www.singerfoundation.org.

x

Youth Apprenticeships
What Is A Youth Apprenticeship? “Webster’s definition of an apprentice: ‘one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling.’ Amanda Stewart, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Another definition is a way to learn that integrates school and work place to enhance student learning.” Mitch Schinstock, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “A youth apprenticeship program is a time-release period from school in which a student goes to a work place and learns by doing. A student…receives hands-on working experience working with a skilled professional.” Kristen Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “Apprenticeships have been used as a learning tool for many centuries....The trainer’s responsibility is to continue to do his or her job while explaining to the apprentice in detail what exactly he or she is doing... [This gives] the apprentice a feel for what it is like to perform the task. Constructive criticism is a necessity for this method of learning. If the apprentice does not hear what is done wrong, nothing will be learned. In recent years, this form of learning has been applied to education at the high school and college level.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “A youth apprenticeship is a program where young people experience under the guidance of an experienced craftsman an occupation that they might want to explore.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas What’s Behind Youth Apprenticeships? “A student in a classroom can only hear or simulate how a task is done. He/she can never fully understand exactly how the job works. In today’s fast-paced, technological world, students are required to know everything about a job before they show up on the first day. Employers look at an internship as knowledgeable experience towards the task at hand. Many believe that the best way to excel at a job is to have first hand experience on the job.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas

1

Nick Continues: “A low cost alternative to college would be choosing an apprenticeship that can give a high school student the same opportunities that one would have entering college.… Apprenticeships are an ideal way for high school and college students of all ages to gain experience in a trade. Apprenticeships are not suited for all people [but] they can be a second chance for high school dropouts to get a decent paying job. Colleges utilize them to give students experience in a field related to their major. Apprenticeships are a valuable preparation tool for a life-long career.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Many students saw the value in apprenticeships “The United States lacks a formal transition from school-to-work. For many young people this transition is…difficult. Some young people cannot understand the relevance of their classroom instruction to jobs or careers. To help smooth the transition from school-to-work and improve long-term employment opportunities, Congress passed the School-to-Work Opportunities Act. This act emphasized the integration of classroom instructtion with work-based learning. The act provides states with funds for designing school-to-work systems to better prepare all students for their education and future careers.” Cori Davidson, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Some students claim the decline in education standards in the United States triggered the need for apprenticeship programs “Interest in the youth apprenticeship program arose with the increase in the weaknesses of U.S. education. Students who were not interested in college would drift from one unskilled job to another, acquiring no skills, and conversing mainly with other young, unskilled people. This system is a waste of time that delays maturity and only offers haphazard training, which in most cases, does not result in any recognized credentials or certification.” Amanda Harlow, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “School-to-work programs show young people how their classroom experiences relate to the workplace and their personal lives. …Students are able to gain hands-on experience and…students who are experienced are more likely to succeed and have higher self-confidence [as they] look for jobs. More often than not, people who have experience are chosen over those who do not.” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

2

Wishful Thinking “In our community we have several options to explore that will enhance a computer apprenticeship program that is partnered with our local high school. A-1 Computers, our local Internet service provider and computer resource, would be an excellent partner.… Working with an experienced computer associate would benefit any person interested in computers.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas A Head Start “Another option is the program called Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) that our high school is in the process of putting into its curriculum. The program is four semesters long and starts when the student is a junior in high school. This program allows students to study towards a CCNA certificate while still receiving high school credits. Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “[Our] youth apprenticeship program is…a two-year program for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in specific occupations. The purpose of this program is to provide high school students with stateapproved, work-based learning…Work-based learning is when the student actually works and learns... The program’s [goal] is to expose the students to [many] occupations. Students receive training at the work place from mentors.” Joni Habiger, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Personal Example “First, I wanted to be in forestry, then my interest changed to marine biology [followed by a desire] to be a physician. Finally, I landed on accounting [career], and that's what I'm working toward now. Each time I selected a new career path, I didn't really know what it was all about. Each [career] sounded good, but I didn't think about the schooling I needed or the responsibilities that came with each [choice]. I know that there are students everywhere with this same problem. Many are constantly changing their minds about what they want to study, or even worse, they don't decide until a couple of years into college.” Ashley Nivens, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri JOB SHADOWING Jamie is one of those students with the same problem

3

“Almost everybody knows what it is like to be young and have your whole future in front of you and not know what you are going to do with it. I know first hand about this. I went from wanting to be a police officer, to a doctor, to a lawyer, to a marine biologist. I finally decided I was going to be a mortician—until I had to shadow it. I went in that morning set in my ways. No one was going to change my mind about it. [By] that evening I was no [longer] going to be a mortician…. If I hadn’t [had the shadowing experience] I might have ended up with a career I hated and that wasn’t for me. Job shadowing not only helped me, but it is a very important tool used by many to witness first hand what careers are like. Job shadowing…helps the student and the employer.” Jamie Faulkner, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Maggie points out what can happen without guidance: “The last year of high school is a time of decisions. Seniors must make choices that will impact the rest of their lives. For some young people, the choice is obvious. They fill out their college applications and the next fall they head off to a four-year college. But for many youths, the choice is not as clear-cut. Often, these young adults [don’t know about] options and end up dropping out of high school or working at a minimum wage job offering few advancement opportunities.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Some students favored earlier apprenticeships “When most students leave high school, they usually do not have a lot of work experience or they are not sure of their future plans. Apprenticeship programs can help with this situation. One of the most appealing parts of a youth apprenticeship program is that it gives adolescents ‘on the job’ training early on …” Jessica Lehr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Starting at a younger age would [hopefully] give children and young teenagers…more time to decide what they enjoy. Maybe by the time they reached high school, indecision would not be such a problem.” Jessica Lehr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “In today’s society, jobs are becoming more technical everyday. Students are going into the work force today thinking that it will be just as easy for them to get a job as it was for their parents. However, today’s jobs aren’t as easy to get. In order to get a good paying job, a person needs special training or on the job training. For this reason, the government has

4

introduced the school-to-work program…There are many different programs that help prepare students for jobs while they are still in school…. By using experiential learning, [many] students are more prepared to go into the work force and find a job…. We have several programs in our community that support the school-to-work program however I believe that by introducing students to jobs…at an earlier age would benefit…the students [and] the community.” Kimberly Grauf, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “I have decided to create my own apprenticeship program [where] a student would find a job path for a [specific field] like the health field, arts or communication.… They would take [only] core classes for the first half of the day. [After] lunch, they would [focus] on [their chosen field]. “This program could begin in about the seventh grade. These students would be able to go to a two-year technical school and already have experience in [some] field. This way they would not be so nervous about going to school. It would make it possible for students who are not good in schoolwork to [gain] experience in a field of work instead of being in an art or physical education class every year just so they would graduate when they are supposed to. [My plan] would also give these students…a couple years experience before they graduated and [actually] entered the work force. “This program differs from the programs where students go to school half the day and then go to work the other half of the day.… They will begin getting the training for this career in about seventh grade when they become more responsible. It would also [be food for] those students who now take all the [easy] classes even though they do not learn a thing. All the students in this program would graduate in the same amount of years as students on standard programs, except they would be [prepared] to join the work force as soon as they graduate from high school.” Jason Wethy, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Jessica seconds the idea of early apprenticeships and wants to use community mentors: “An after school youth apprenticeship program for younger students in our community would help clarify students’ future goals, dreams, and aspirations. This not only helps the children, but also brings the community closer by allowing them to get involved with the younger generation.” Jessica Lehr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

5

Mindy and Nick echo Kimberly’s lament that is not as easy as it once was to get a job “Too many students leave high school without occupational and academic skills to succeed in the workplace or in postsecondary education. Today in high school students are not taught how to think for themselves. They are being taught through abstract ideas rather than hands-on…learning. Not including the necessary job skills in the high school curriculum makes it very difficult for a high school student to get a job right after graduation. Graduating high school does not guarantee a person a high quality job as it once did.” Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Apprenticeship classes are an ideal way for high school dropouts and students not planning on attending college to succeed in attaining employment in a skilled job. Trying to find a job in the 21st century without any college experience or Vo-Tech training can be very difficult.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “The U.S. is ranked low in education compared to other countries. Such work-based programs are what students need to get on the right track at an earlier age, so they will have a goal that they are working toward, and a career that they want to succeed at. Work-based learning experiences and youth apprenticeships…will cause [students] to take education seriously.” Ashley Nivens, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Mary, below, is a strong advocate for school-to-work programs “School-to-work programs at the High School level are, in my opinion, a great help for adapting teenagers to the work force. There is a gap between school and work that needs to be filled. I am a High School Senior and I have been working in a McDonalds restaurant (as a summer job) since my sophomore year. I tried working weekends during the school year but it didn’t work out with my over-crowded schedule. I needed the job experience because I know it is ridiculous to expect to just walk out of high school and into a good job. Notice I said good job. In my case that means one that involves writing, editing, or illustrating literature. When summer comes I will likely be going back to McDonalds, but I wish I were working with a publishing company or a magazine. Many students start out the same as I did: working in a fast food restaurant. Most students in High School still don’t know what career they want. Those that do often don’t know how to get started. School-to-work programs help to fill the gap and get students started in the right direction. …

6

“Another reason to get involved in such programs is to [become] more favorable to employers. Employers are often reluctant to hire teenagers and I don’t blame them. Most people my age don’t have any job experience, are not available full time and are often less mature than older workers. The school-based enterprise program and other similar school-to-work programs help to make the crossover between the two easier and help students get a foot in the door of the career world. Once they take that first step, a hardworking student has a better chance in succeeding in the working world.” Mary Onawa Meier, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Side Benefits “Many students never receive the chance to use their obtained talents and skills inside of school. Because some students are not book smart, they can be viewed by the teachers as less talented. However, students with apprenticeship programs have the chance to go out and use some of their energy for something productive allowing others to see the assertive side of them.” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Apprenticeships have always done more than teach a specific trade. Learning to work means learning to be an adult….[Apprenticeships] reflect the concern of business, government, and academia over the perilous and growing mismatch between the future demands of the workplace and the quality of the nation's up-and-coming workers. Austin Davis, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Why Education? “Plato once said, ‘The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.’ But where do we start our kids’ education? In what direction do we send them? For many years the world has tried to reform the education system; remember John Dewey? But now the focus is on youth apprenticeships. The new plan is to learn by doing. As stated by Robert W. Glover, an authority on apprenticeships, ‘It combines earning and learning—and both of these features are attractive to school-weary youth.’ Today’s youth have trouble seeing the link between the work force and what they learn in school. Youth apprenticeships are here to solve that problem.” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

7

“Economists have long argued that the returns on general education are higher than those on specific training, because education is transferable where many skills tend to be job-specific.” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Education is the key to our country’s success.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Why Not? “Employers see going to college as a way of showing leadership and initiative. High tuition costs are one reason that often keeps students from attending college.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas The high school-college partnership “I am currently enrolled in many college level courses. The courses that I am taking help me get [some college] classes out of the way and will let me begin working on my major when I start college. I am very thankful [because] taking these classes now will also help me to finish college earlier and get out in the work force. The high school/college partnership has already produced results. Summer enrollment in developmental courses at colleges are up significantly as students are trying to ensure that they will be ready for collegiate courses when their ‘real college’ actually begins. Serious partnerships between high schools and colleges and with community colleges, in particular, are among the best ways to be able to foster adequate collegiate preparation for the growing number of the students who need college in order to compete for jobs in today's economy.” Colie Hauser, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Apprenticing college classes...is a program that is designed for high school students as a stepping-stone to college. This is a good experience for all high school seniors if the want to get a taste of what lies ahead for them in college.” Samantha Ricke, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “There is, however, one small setback to all of this. College admissions personnel might not recognize the effectiveness of the program. This is because they look at the subjects that a student has taken in high school and the number of credits one has earned. They may fail to see how the schoolto-work programs can be used the same way. There are different

8

approaches that can be taken in order to get through this barrier. One such approach is to work with different colleges on an individual basis. High schools could set up a program with a few select universities in order for their admissions procedures to identify with the school-to-work process. However, for this plan to work completely as preparation for the collegebound, most colleges will need to change their admissions procedures. This is the only way that this program can truly work on a nationwide scale.” Travis Dean, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois ”The hard part is deciding what path to take and gaining the knowledge and skills to be successful, no matter what career we choose. Not only would this program teach students about several different occupations, it would help students learn how to compose resumes as well. The students would be required to present a resume to every business from which they desire a job The manager or assistant manager of the business would help the student know what types of information would be good on the resume for a specific occupation. The resume would then be critiqued. Also, the students would learn excellent communication and work skills.” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Youth apprenticeships are the education of the future.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Indecision and the fear of changing majors and prolonging college is expressed by many students “Education Explorations is an example of a youth apprenticeship in my community, similar to other programs in my state. I feel very privileged to be an active participant in the program. One of the benefits of this system is the experience…gained from working in classrooms.… This program helps students…plan their future…so they may not have to change majors as many…times. I am actively learning by participating in teaching rather than just sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook about it. Walinda Arnett, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Mae Marie agrees with Walinda “Imagine if everyone had a type of youth apprenticeship for his or her desired field. I believe that there would be fewer college students who would change their major throughout college. Youth apprenticeship programs allow students to practice their intended study before they

9

actually get a degree in it. Bringing a youth apprenticeship program to the Quad Cities would definitely be a positive educational strategy.” Mae Marie Freyermuth, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Our schools know how to teach the basic skills very well, but in the work world there are more abilities demanded than just doing math problems and reading a story. The CEC teaches students how to think creatively, make decisions, and solve problems. It also encourages responsibility, socialbility, and self-management. These are some of the skills that people need to get a job, but…these skills are being left out of [most] high school curricula. [Incorporating these skills] would be a tremendous advantage to those students who are seeking work right out of high school” Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Travis adds a few more reasons for school to work transitional programs “Many researchers have come to see that this approach [community-based learning] strengthens and increases the amount of knowledge that is learned, understood, and retained. Many high school students don’t realize the importance of the information that they are learning in school. I know I have heard my classmates ask, ‘When will I ever use this in my life?’ With a program that combines school and work they could get a better understanding. It would show them how what they learn in school can be used in the real world. This would also help those students who do poorly in school. Getting involved with this could strengthen their learning ability and raise their grades.” Travis Dean, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Skepticism “When I first discovered this program, [Technology Works Enterprises] I was doubtful that it could work. As I began to research it further, it started to sound possible, but it will take many years to develop into what it is meant to be. I realize that a TWE school is not for everyone, but for certain people it may be just the thing they’ve been looking for. Marr Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois The Practicalities “Funding is always a problem in every organization. For students to get to [off-campus jobs] they would need transportation. Transporting students would be very expensive. A way to avoid this would be to only allow junior and senior students who can get their own transportation [to participate].

10

Junior and senior students are also closer to making decisions for their future.” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “School-to-work programs need to benefit all young people by preparing them for work and college. However, [some] college admissions [are skeptical so] more college-bound students need to participate in school-towork to prove that it really is an effective way of preparing them for college.” Travis Dean, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois How It Works “Every [apprentice programs] student must take business technology, a two-hour block class. Each student’s curriculum is individualized according to the career the student has chosen. The goal of the course is to give students the skills they need to become productive, independent employees. They learn how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint; business math; and filing as well as participating in a mock interview and learning how to make a resume, all important skills that many new members of the workforce do not have.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri The Start Up Phase “The success of the program revolves around the dedication of everyone involved: the school, students, parents, teachers, and the entire community. By setting up a volunteer committee, a group of leaders could be established…. Starting from scratch is difficult, but…the community could help with fundraisers, advertising, and the overall set up of the youth apprenticeship [program]. The final step in the preparation would be for community volunteers to get out into the work force to find businesses who would be willing to take on youth apprentices. Volunteer teachers from the work force would be needed to teach these young students.… By contacting local veterinarians, doctors, businesses, shops, etcetera, a [wide variety] of choices could be [offered] to the students participating in this apprenticeship program.” Jessica Lehr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Specific Wishes “An art apprenticeship program is needed at Kinsley High School. [It would] allow local nationally acclaimed artists to pass on their skills. The facilities would be provided by the artist where the apprentice is training

11

and the equipment [might] include a full working darkroom, a pottery kiln, pottery wheels, jewelry making equipment, and computer art equipment. “ Brianna Medina, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Looking Up “Nationwide, there are now three hundred thousand apprentices. Also, school-to-work programs are being dealt with in most every high school across the nation. There are thousand of opportunities for the high school student.” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Some people might complain that apprentice programs would be very disorganized and not accomplish their goals…. There will always be doubt, but with the cooperation of the community the problems will be dealt with and worked out.” Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Colleges call apprenticeships applied learning. While working on a degree, students take many courses relating to the field of work being taught. In the field of landscape architecture, students must take the following courses to prepare them for working off campus in a firm: mathematics, English, botany, ecology, drafting, art courses, geology, physical sciences, and social sciences. Each of these courses have a different topic, but they have the same purpose; to give the students background for their future job. After taking these courses, architecture students often join up with an architectural firm as an apprentice to gain experience and learn the tricks of the trade. Most firms pay students a minimum wage just as they would part-time employees. This gives the students an opportunity to make money to support themselves while they are learning their future trade. “For the first time in their schooling, students can actually apply what they have learned in college. They have designed imaginary landscapes, but now they are involved with the [real thing]. Students are always full of questions. Instead of reading from a book to get answers, they can ask someone who has been in the business for a while. In so doing, they establish relationships with work partners who can give them constructive criticism and recommendations after graduation. Employers can give to their new workers. Working at a firm gives students the added pressures of a job. These are pressures that cannot be simulated during class.

12

“After graduating from college, many students studying on campus can talk about the amount of training they went through. The architecture students can talk about the number of buildings or landscapes they designed. They also have the confidence needed to prosper in their new career, while the non-apprentice students must begin going through what the [apprenticed] students did while in school.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “These [internship] programs stress responsibility, inter-personal skills, and problem-solving skills…. Students need a strong foundation in math, science, and communication skills. Kinsley’s schools and [the] community cooperate with seniors and interns”. Jamie Maledon, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “In my high school…students [are] allowed to sign up for independent study classes. Little did I know that this would turn into my apprenticeship. With permission from Mr. McCurdy, I was enrolled in network applications. In this class I had to map network drives, install programs, and fix computers around the building. As 11:05 rolled around, I walked into class to get my assignment for the day. It didn’t matter what kind of assignment it was. I smiled and went about getting the job done.” Austin Davis, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Mae Marie and Casey, below, have a procedure worked out: “I have [discovered] from recent study, that there should be a [formal] process to get into an apprenticeship program; [especially an apprenticeship] in the financial area. There should be an application form, similar to a job application, which would list the different qualities of students…. First, I think that they should have completed at least one year of high school. This would [mean they] already had one year of math and English. I also believe that they should obtain a grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. This grade point average would indicate that the [applicants] are trying and learning material…. Also, this academic success would help ensure that the youth apprenticeship program would be worthwhile. Having a good attendance record should also be a key element. How [can students] be expected to learn if they don’t show up? “Once a student’s application in accepted, an interview from the company he or she will be working with should take place. During the next three years the student would attend Tech Prep classes, visit work sites, hire for summer employment, and finally work part-time at a partner company.

13

After the students have completed this apprenticeship program, they would have to make a few decisions for their future. They could then decide to obtain a bachelor degree or go right into the financial service field for further on-the-job training.” Mae Marie Freyermuth, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “I believe that my high school could have an apprentice program for students. This is how it would work. Once a semester for a week or two, students could work at a local business. They could learn about the occupation and gain new knowledge about different jobs. For example, I could enroll in algebra, English, government, science, computer, and an elective. Once a semester I could talk with my teachers and discover what occupation I could apprentice that would use the classroom skills I have learned. Then I would contact the profession, compose a resume, and work at the business that accepts me for a few hours a day. This business would have the opportunity to dismiss [me] or give me a pay raise (extra credit for a class).” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas It’s hard to tell if Laura is talking about a working program or an idea she has named Early Bird “Students who have decided to be in an apprentice program would [leave] school three times a week. They would become a part of a new program called ‘Early Bird.’ Students enrolled in Early Bird would come to school at seven o’clock (instead of eight o’clock), to take their required physical education class. At eight o’clock they would begin academic classes enabling them to take more than just the required courses to graduate. Then they would leave before their sixth hour period to go to shadow a [job].” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Jennifer describes Arrowhead West “During the last nine-weeks I have been going to Arrowhead West for my work-study program. This program is designed to help high school students get ahead in the real world. Instead of a student graduating and being expected to get a job with no work experience at all, the program allows the student to go to school for half a day and to get the job of their choice for the remainder of the day. Most of the students choose a career most suitable to their future interests. Then, an application is filled and hopefully the student is [accepted] into the program. By doing this, students learn not only responsibility but also receive real live job experience. Teachers and employers would get together once a week and discuss the students’

14

progress for the week. The students are under strict supervision and their behavior and work ethics are monitored. All of the students receive a paycheck, which also motivates the students to succeed. The students skip out of school for four hours every day and learn something that will help them in their futures. In addition the school to work program [is efficient]. Instead of staying in school with tedious classes that are not required, a student can go out [and use that] precious time to make money. This way, students have time after work to do homework and participate in other activities. Another plus about the program is that it offers the students the opportunity to earn money and participate in extra circular activities, since the workday ends at four O’clock. This program allows students to hold a part-time job, play sports, and still have enough time for homework, all in the same day. It also helps them [focus] on a future career.… They can experiment and [get closer to determining] the field they really want to pursue. This would [decrease the instances of] students who graduate from college, get out into the real world and absolutely despise their chosen field.” Jennifer Marsh, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas And Walinda tells us about Education Explorations, apparently programs in the same school “Education Explorations is a strong example of a youth apprenticeship. This internship consists of a student working with a supervising teacher, in their high school, to determine the grade level that would be most beneficial. The student and teacher must come up with a set of guidelines that the student must abide by for the internship to be successful. The objectives and goals that the student wishes to gain from this internship will also be determined. The curriculum will then be written and presented to the principal of the high school for approval. The student must also talk with the teacher(s) that he/she plans to shadow and the principal of that correspondence school to make sure that everyone is in agreement. When everyone has approved [the plan], the student will begin to shadow the correspondent teacher. Each day that the student is present in the classroom, he/she should write a daily curriculum journal. These journals will be turned into the supervising teacher to assure that the student is abiding the present curriculum. During class, he/she will be available to help the teacher in whatever way the teacher deems. Some teachers may allow a little teaching to occur. Others teachers may use the student as a teacher’s aide by having them check and pass out papers, answer questions or proofread student’s reports.” Walinda Arnett, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas

15

Students were not shy about pointing on the drawbacks in some apprenticeship programs “In retrospect, an apprenticeship is not necessarily the best preparation for a high school student planning to enter college. High schools all over the nation have college preparatory curricula allowing students to have the best background possible before entering college. Pupils taking these classes do not have a place in their schedule for an art class or [to be a] teacher’s aid, let alone a time set aside to leave school and work. These students will more than likely enter an apprenticeship while in college.” Nick Moore, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “The Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program does have a few drawbacks. Like most apprenticeship programs, employers fear that they would be in violation of the child labor laws and hazardous-work orders. Employers are also apprehensive about employing teenagers due to the belief that their maturity level is not satisfactory and, therefore, most prefer college graduates.” Amanda Harlow, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “Students or parents may feel that students involved in apprentice programs miss out on academic courses. However, students in the apprentice program would be taking Early Bird, which saves them an hour to take another academic course.… They would only be missing out on one class period. [In addition] students who are interested in this program may fear that once they decide to attend Early Bird they would not be able to change their career choice. That is the complete opposite of what the program’s [about]. The program’s purpose is to [allow] students [to see] if they really are interested [in a particular career] or not. [The program is] designed to show [students] different career perspectives and let them decide from there.” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Below, Maggie argues well that for less academic oriented students apprenticeships are the better alternative to nothing “Some critics say that programs such as [apprenticeships] are detrimental to students. They say that high school is a time for intellectual development, a time when students become well rounded, not a time when students should start on a vocational track. But by the senior year of high school, most young people know if they have the aptitude for further academic study or not. If the answer is no, what is to become of these young adults? Should they sacrifice their future earning potential for the sake of ‘intellectual development,’ which will not benefit those who have neither the interest

16

nor aptitude for such endeavors? Many students weary of school simply drop out, leaving them with few skills and even fewer employment opportunities. Without the incentive of programs like [apprenticeships], many more high school students would drop out of school. Although [apprenticeship] students may not be learning Shakespeare or advanced chemistry, at least they are learning something.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri She goes on to defend apprenticeships against those who say high school students are too young to commit to a career: “Some people contend that seventeen year olds are not ready to commit themselves to a vocational track, that such a young person cannot be emotionally ready to make a decision that can affect them for the rest of their lives. But isn’t this exactly what all high school seniors do? These young adults decide if they wish to remain in high school to get a diploma, if they will get a full time job after graduation, of they will attend a trade school or if they will go a junior college or a four-year college or university. If a student decides on a four year college, he or she much decide whether to attend a school close to home or halfway across the country, a decision which will likely affect where the student eventually gets a job and lives. If the student decides that trade school is the right choice, then he or she must decide what program to embark on; carpentry, cooking, plumbing or something entirely different. In many countries, students fourteen years old, and sometimes younger, must choose to attend either a vocational or an academic secondary school. So, it is not at all too much to ask of a seventeen year old to make this important decision.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Finally Maggie dispels fears that an apprenticeship may lessen the chance of a student to attend college: “Some parents fear that if their child decides to participate in an [apprentice] program, their child will have [less chance of] attending a fouryear college. [To the contrary], if an [apprentice program] student is somewhat academically inclined, he or she may complete the admissions requirements of the college of interest and apply for admission. Many [apprenticeship] students go on to complete college degrees at institutions such as the University of Missouri.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Other students point out the drawbacks and still find the positives: “The drawbacks of a youth apprenticeship program are low wages, menial

17

work, and dependence on the master craftsman’s knowledge. Low wages and a lot of hard work usually come with being a novice. Working with little to no experience does not justify paying us big and working us little, so we have to do what we are told and not complain. We might also receive some menial work that the master craftsman might not want to do. We have to take it with stride and try to learn from everything that we do, no matter the task. We can conquer the low wages and menial work issue by looking to the future and realizing that all the hard work we do now will pay off in the end. Also, by sacrificing while we are young and by doing the dirty work, we can enjoy the success we will have when we are older…. The biggest drawback to the proposed youth apprenticeship is the dependence on the master craftsman’s knowledge.…A student will only be able to learn as much as the master craftsman knows which could be a very large drawback for any student apprentice. To overcome this dependence we, as students, must take the initiative and give our teacher motivation to educate us in every possible way. Learning from the craftsman might also teach…patience, understanding, and listening skills. [It’s up to the apprentice] to overcome the barriers and strive to fully benefit from the positive aspects of the program.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “Drawbacks to the program remain a problem, but the benefits will outweigh them. …Finding time to complete this program…will have students struggling. If the time becomes a factor the students may begin to neglect their primary classes. The way to overcome this problem is a simple process of time management. The class could be offered in the summer or as an after school program. During the summer students often have jobs, but the class could be offered in the evenings to correct the problem. After school the main conflict would be sports. Once again the class could be offered in the evenings to deal with the conflict. The second problem will be the enrollment. Finding enough students who are interested in government and politics could present a problem. Students might shy away from this class because of its degree of difficulty. To correct the problem the class should be offered only to juniors and seniors. The upper class students in the high school often realize participating in a post secondary education institution is going to require advanced classes. The high school only offers a few of these advanced classes. Offering the class to the upper class students exclusively should eliminate the problem.” Travis Lo Vette, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “The Education Explorations program, as well as many others, also faces some opposing opinions. One of these notions is the fact that the partici-

18

pating students [don’t know] how to teach. It is believed by some that they should not be teaching other students for this reason. With this program, observing and teaching in the classroom is one way for the students to gain knowledge. They are not left in the classroom alone to teach the students; they work with the teacher. They help to answer questions, pronounce words, and get to know the students…. [Other critics] may argue that the participating students are forced to growing up too soon; that they are speeding up their education. This…depends on the maturity and grade level of the student apprentice. Students who are preparing for college in their senior year show the maturity and stamina to participate in this type of an internship. This program does not take the place of the student teaching that they will have to perform during their college education; it just allows them to broaden their horizons [and absorb] ideas and [teaching] methods used by various teachers.” Walinda Arnett, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Some of those against apprenticeships argue that most of the young adults coming out of high school have relatively low problem-solving, math, reading and communication skills. We are on a collision course as the labor market shrinks and the need for more and better skills [is on the] increase. Also, adolescents are known for being indecisive about their goals in life. Committing oneself at age 16 to a particular professional track means giving up a chance for economic and social mobility. Another dispute against youth apprentice-ships is that employers in this controversial society are [wary] of [unintentionally] violating child labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Bonnie Hauser, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Kaysi has the answer to the fear of violating child labor standards but only points out two additional drawbacks: “A student that is 14 when he/she comes into high school would need to obtain a Minor Work Permit. This would prevent a participating business from getting into trouble for not following child labor laws. Also, some jobs may be considered hazardous and therefore students could not work at those places. Some of these jobs might include driving or delivery work, excavating, wrecking, demolition or salvage work, operating large machines, and roofing operations (except on gutters, downspouts, or installing air conditioners and ventilation equipment). The student would have to be directly related to the manager or owner of the business for them to work these hazardous jobs. Other drawbacks could include students not

19

scoring as high in some areas on ACT/SAT tests because they do not have as much classroom knowledge.” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Business as mentors “Many of the major businesses in the area specialize in engineering [so not surprisingly] engineering is a very popular field of study. Alcoa, John Deere, Case IH, New Holland, and Hon Industries are a few of the largest businesses in the area.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Disincentives for Businesses “This would also be bad for a company if the student decided to quit the program. The business would be frustrated because it would have wasted a lot of their worker's time by trying to help a student…These problems would make some companies think that they might not want to have student apprentices. This [would negate] all the benefits that they, and the students, could have received.” Josh Fowler, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “The first problem is that TWE graduates may be badly prepared for some jobs. A TWE school would prepare students in some areas of business but not all of them. Employers are often dissatisfied with students who have completed training through the Job Corps or similar programs.” Matt Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois More Drawbacks-college “A student may find out halfway through an apprentice program that he does not like it and then realize that it is too late to take the classes that he needs so that he can pursue the next thing he had in mind. This could mess up a student’s plans if he cannot take the classes for a different career.” Josh Fowler, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Because apprenticeship classes usually take two years, most collegebound students do not want to miss out on taking classes that look appealing to colleges, they do not take apprenticeship courses. Also, most teenagers looking toward…college are not sure what their future occupation is going to be, so they do not want to dedicate two years of commitment to an apprenticeship and not go into that trade.” Amanda Stewart, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

20

Too Few Career Choices “We live in a rural city that has many jobs, but it does not have a huge variety of them. This could prove to be a problem when students are looking for placement in the fields of their choice. Not being able to match every student to the job of his/her choice is yet another drawback.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Transportation “The school, by law, is required to pay gas money to students who apprentice during school hours [and] drive to their jobs. …This can become very costly for a school.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Too Early (combine with earlier excerpts) “Many people disagree with school-to-work apprentice programs because they think they kill dreams. As Robert Holland, a journalist states, ‘Schoolto-work locks students in career tracks much too early, chilling opportunity and killing youthful dreams.’” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Some skeptics criticize school to work operations, because they feel that it is to early for a high school student to commit to a profession.” Matt Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois One common concern is that the student will be pressured to pick a lifelong career too soon. It is a possibility to stay there if that were the student's choice, but it is not a mandatory commitment. Another concern that could be brought up is that the student loses out on valuable classroom time.” Jessica Cook, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Poor Education “But what happens to our educational values as we focus on school-towork? Barbara Green, chairwoman of the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship, says, ‘The rush to embrace apprenticeship…is leading to efforts that could undermine the very pillars of its value.’ Youth apprenticeships could easily become an answer to why do I need to know who the Prime Minister of Zaire is? and why do I need to know how to sketch a hyperbola?. Already being a country that is low in academic achievement, youth apprenticeships could add to this weakness by focusing

21

too much on “learning to work.” This focus could very easily detract from the quest for more knowledge.” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Apprenticeships are the new fad, but will that give too many lazy students an easy way out of working hard in school? We learn because it is knowledge, and the more knowledge we have, the stronger we become mentally. Learning teaches discipline, and apprenticeships are undermining the very value of this point. Unless there is an apprenticeship program that a student does on his/her free time, apprenticeships will continue to be used by the people who just want something easier than their algebra class.” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Another consequence to this program is the attitude that some students will have toward school. School may begin to lose its status. Kids may start to view school as irrelevant. This point brings me to my third consequence: dropouts. As kids start to see school as irrelevant, the dropout rate begins to increase and teenagers begin to realize that an education might not be necessary to find a job.” Matt Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

Pro Apprenticeships
“I agree with and support all youth apprenticeship programs. I think that it is an excellent way for students to get ready for the real world. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain in programs like these.” Jessica Cook, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Interest as an incentive to learning “Students would be able to get experience before tackling job responsibilities. Students also seem to work and study harder when they are learning about something that interests them. Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Good Points “The pros include the fact that apprentice programs are well integrated into school curricula which makes it easier for students to get involved. They prepare students far better for the ever-changing job market than students in traditional vocational education, where 60 percent of the participants end up in jobs that have nothing to do with the training they receive in high schools. Students who are involved with youth apprenticeship programs still have time to be with friends and partake in a variety of different

22

activities. Building better futures cultivates maturity in young people. The student learns to work which means learning to become an adult. Apprenticeships have always done more than teach a specific trade. The onthe-job training is the main advantage. It [puts] the student a step ahead of others coming out of high school with no training. In addition, they get paid for their work.” Bonnie Hauser, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Apprentice programs will teach the students to be independent. The program will teach the basic thinking skills, and personal qualities necessary for future success. Each student will be responsible for turning in a personalized journal as well as a major project each semester. The assignments must be completed on the students’ own time as no class time will be given. The program will offer mentorship's in the community. The students will be allowed to take part in an internship at the courthouse, police station, or the local lawyer’s office. The mentorship's will teach students the inside procedures of how the facilities work. Another benefit is the college credits. Through a partnership with D.C.C.C. students would receive college credit through the class. This program will better prepare those students going into college.” Travis Lo Vette, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas On-the-job training “Most colleges will give students college credit for internship programs. This allows high school students to get a jump-start on their college requirements. Most colleges also require some sort of apprenticeship or internship for a major in [a specific] field. Colleges look very highly on people who have had on-the-job experience.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “A youth apprenticeship program in the computer field involves on-the-job training which offers credible experience and knowledge.… On-the-job training is a definite asset. When an employer sees that a student has computer experience, that student becomes more marketable.… When these students enter college, they do not have to spend one or two years figuring out what career to pursue. Instead they can then take more advanced courses in computer science. They will already know how to troubleshoot computer problems, how to repair hardware and install a network a system. If [students] can study computer basics in high school, they will be that much further ahead when they begin their college careers.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas

23

“[Apprenticeship programs would give a] community a better understanding of high school students and [as a consequence] there would be less negativity [shown] to students as a whole. In addition, the students would acquire better problem-solving skills. In my high school, the teachers have been trying to raise the problem-solving scores on state tests because they have been low for the past few years. Apprentice programs would be a great way to accelerate student learning and allow them to practice their problem-solving skills.” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “As long as the program promotes learning, youth apprenticeships could really add to education systems everywhere. These programs could be extracurricular or summer programs that allow average students to specialize in specific areas of interest.” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois More Community-based Learning “Through a school-to-work program, youths can experience positive outcomes such as increased motivation, skill development, positive selfimage, and the opportunity to reflect the learning provided by experiences outside of the classroom. Not only do students make career decisions, but they also gain experience and responsibility…these programs only broaden students’ points of view and open their eyes to a bright new future. Apprenticeships not only save students time in understanding the occupational background but also show them earlier in life what they would like to do in their future. Apprenticeship programs are needed for students who are willing to learn more about the career of their choice.” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “The programs our schools now have offer few options, and the CEC (Career Education Center) would add some variety. A summer program like CEC, for college-bound students, would not only enhance the students’ education, but also reform the entire Quad City education system. The world will eventually be in the care of today’s students.… Just as Euripides warned us, ‘Whoso neglects learning in his youth, loses the past and is dead for the future.’” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Matt is both enthusiastic and persuasive, below: “There are many reasons why a TWE (Technology Works Enterprises) school would appeal to a high school student. The first advantage would be

24

the small enrollment. Students would be called upon to fill an important role in the operation of their business. These students would be heavily relied upon to do their job or the entire team would fail. Another aspect that a small class offers is individual attention. Students would have the opportunity to receive special help from their instructors at anytime. “Another opportunity that a TWE school offers is variety. Many times teenagers are hired to perform entry level work. At a TWE institution every student would have full participation in a variety of fields such as public relations, financial planning, and management. This would give him/her a taste of many different jobs. There are many students, such as myself, who have no idea what kind of work they would like to get into after high school. The opportunity to participate in a variety of jobs would help many kids decide what they want to do after they graduate. “Many times students grow tired of the same routine day in and day out. At traditional high schools, students attend the same classes every day. They do the same thing every day. With TWE schools the possibilities are endless. Every day can be something different. Students do not only learn to solve problems on paper but more importantly learn to solve problems with people. Being able to communicate with other students as well as customers is a valuable skill that can not be taught in a classroom. When dealing with customers, workers will also be interacting with members of the community. This situation will work in both directions. The TWE schools will not only help the community, but members of the community can also come to the school to get help with their technology problems. They can work together to solve each other’s problems. “Perhaps the most appealing characteristic of a TWE school is the money that the students will receive for their work. They would be getting paid to go to school everyday. With this program, it would not be necessary for TWE students to find an after school job. Personally this would work great for me. Some days after school, I find myself heading to work. If I got paid to go to school, I would have plenty of extra time after school to hang out with friends and attend after school activities. I would have the time to enjoy my high school years.” Matt Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Who Knows About Youth Apprenticeship Programs? “Across all schools in America there are apprenticeship programs for students to learn more about their desired careers before going to college.

25

Although there are several offered, do most students know that they are available? Do they know how to become a part of the program? Are there even programs for all area of interest? I feel that students are not aware of the opportunities that they have through these programs. If they knew, I think they would be more interested in becoming a part of the program. As a high school student, I do not know very much about apprentice programs. Like many others I know they exist, but I do not know what steps I would need to take become a part of these programs.” Laura Townley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “The School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 was passed by both the House and the Senate and sent to Bill Clinton for passage on May 2, 1994. He signed the bill on May 4, 1994. The termination of this bill will be in October 2001, which I believe, is too soon. This act provides the fundamental basis for establishing and expanding school-to-work high schools and programs. “If this act is terminated on the set date, the interest in building and increasing the workplace skills of high school students could diminish. American students would have [less] chance to gain better workplace skills or the chance to have hands on job training because their schools couldn’t afford to carry on the programs. The students who don’t further their education wouldn’t be able to have more than a minimum wage paying job because they don’t have the skills. Minorities or academically challenged students wouldn’t be given as great an opportunity for higher paying jobs because there are still prejudiced employers, even with legislation forbidding such practices in the workplace. Therefore, the pros definitely outweigh the cons and this legislation should be continued beyond the stated termination period. “If one is still not in favor of the continuation of this law, he needs to be informed that the federal government will pay for the initial costs of setting up the school-to-work programs. The programs will be maintained with a combination of federal, state, and local funds, leaving taxpayers to pay the same basic amount as with a regular high school. “The only [weakness in] this legislation that is of any importance is that the field a particular student would like to pursue may not be available in his county or even state. Therefore, he would have to pay tuition costs for the school he chooses, or continue at a regular high school…This one [drawback] doesn’t out balance the need of school-to-work programs

26

…most students who attend these programs will gain more desire to further their education after high school. Those students who don’t want to further their education will be capable of working at a higher paid, higher skilled job right after graduation than if they would’ve attended a regular high school. Also, as a senior, I would’ve liked the chance to experience hands on training for different career fields. Career classes only give me a description about a particular field, but through these programs, I would discover what exactly the field involves. I believe that this [legislation] should be continued because without it interest in building and expanding these school-to-work opportunity programs could diminish. This legislation is just the start of educational and school-to-work opportunity reformation that could totally change the workforce of the United States.” Kim Pratt, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri "Technical skills are becoming a norm for employment. Gone are the days when a high school diploma could guarantee a decent lifestyle. Technology has taken over and people are forced to keep up with it or be left behind. Throughout our country, many programs have been instigated to remedy the lack of technically skilled workers and to [ensure] our country‘s workforce up-to-speed with the rest of the world. One [promising] program...is the Community Careers System of Missouri. It is part of a massive initiative by the federal government to enhance ‘the way we prepare Missouri’s kids to meet the demands of a highly skilled workforce.’ This is being implemented throughout the state and it will be making the connection between school and the workplace. Students will be exposed to a variety of careers and job opportunities with the program and they will receive invaluable classroom instruction and job-site mentoring. “Each of the Community Careers Systems has three basic core elements: school-based learning, work-based learning, and connecting activities. All of these are used together to give students a well-rounded education and…valuable skills for life. The school-based learning takes place in the classroom… Material taught will cover both the theoretical and practical aspects of education. The work-based learning takes place at the job site. Students [are mentored] and receive training and gain job experience…. The connecting activities provide the link between the time spent at school and the time spent at the job site. [Programs] have been developed that teach mentors how to make compatible matches between participating students and employers and how to build bridges between the classroom and career [site].

27

“The federal government will initially fund this program by a series of grants. After a certain period of time, though, the seed money will stop coming and the state government will have to fend for itself. It may seem somewhat strange for the government to do this. It would be natural to assume that as soon as the funding stopped the program would as well. This is not the case, though. The grants will be used only as a foundation for the program to be built on. The five departments in the Missouri government will work in tandem to incorporate the expenses of the Community Careers System into their budget so, as soon as the money runs out, they will be self-sufficient and will no longer require it. “There is a list of major goals to accomplish within the school-to-work philosophy. They include integrating school-based and work-based education at the high school, middle school, and elementary school level, applying assessment tools to effectively evaluate the students’ experiences in the program, allowing for all different student groups, such as the handicapped and limited English speakers, to be included, actively involving out-of-school youth, offering opportunities to students in all types of careers, and building a partnership between the school and the local businesses involved. There are several other minor goals, as well, and they will all be fulfilled with the ensuing success of the Community Careers System. All of these goals can and will be reached with a reasonable amount of work by the schools and businesses to pursue the setting up of the program. “In retrospect, the Community Careers System is a wonderful tool to increase the opportunities and choices of Missouri students. It offers them regular classroom training with the chance to gain real experience in an actual job environment and courses to integrate and connect the two. The program will start early with practical arts training in…elementary school. it will evaluate the students’ progress as they move through the program, and it will give underprivileged, handicapped, and even the academically gifted children opportunities to explore their interests and to develop plans for their prospective careers. Community Careers’ main purpose is to supply the country with the properly trained and technically skilled workers needed to make it competitive. This program will continue with the careful and prudent use of resources. The federal grants will set the stage for the growth and development of the system and the rest is up to the discretion of the state and the enthusiasm of the people.” Lauren Sankovitch, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri

28

Innovations In Education “As I was looking at all the schools on the specified website, I came across the York County Area Vocational-Technical High School located in York, Pennsylvania. This school has a very unique way of involving vocational students in their community. There are students from five Career Programs. They are: Building Trades Maintenance, Carpentry, Electrical Occupation, HVAC and Masonry and Concrete Technology. All five of these small programs combine to make one big program called Habitat for Humanity. The students enroll in one or more of the five programs and then when they have had enough experience, they are allowed to work on a Habitat for Humanity project. “Habitat for Humanity is a great program because it involves both vocational students and volunteer workers from the community. Both groups are working together to assists families in acquiring home ownership by helping them build residences. One particular project was a two story, five-bedroom house, with a brick front. York Vo-Tech students worked on nearly every phase of the project. There were around one hundred Vo-Tech students [involved]. “The Electrical Occupations students installed underground service, other work included rough-in wiring, mounting boxes, splicing wire and installing phone and television wiring. Electricity students are expected to return and complete finish work and testing of the electrical system. The Masonry students were involved in laying block on the foundation. They also worked on the brickwork on the front of the house. The HVAC, Masonry, and Concrete Technology students installed a high efficiency gas furnace heating system, along with ductwork and an air conditioning system. The Building Trades Maintenance students worked on the waste drain lines and installing water and gas lines. The Carpentry students worked on the interior and exterior, including framing, installing windows and doors, insulation and drywall and shingling and installation of siding.” Lori Brown, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “Would students be more prepared for the real world if their school were also an operating business? Would this new environment help students get a good job straight out of high school? That is what the Technology WorKansas Enterprise (TWE) Proposal hopes to achieve.… The proposal combines two similar worlds: business and school. This TWE school is an alternative high school with a very small enrollment. The major advantage of a TWE school is the money. A TWE school would receive the same

29

amount of public funding as a public institution but could also use the money made from the business that the students are running. This extra money would provide the students the most up-to-date technology, which would prepare them for a job right out of high school.” Matt Fuhr, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “[ROP-Regional Occupational Programs are a group of] programs that are tuition free, open-entry, and accredited by the California State Department of Education. ROP’s courses are specialized classes in specified career fields. They are updated often and include the most in demand careers. Courses…include: Telecommunications, Internet & Web Page Publishing, Computer Graphics and Animation, Biotechnology, Cisco Network Certification, TV and Video Production, Sports Medicine, and Careers in Teaching. These courses are held either in a high school classroom or in a business to help the students develop the skills they need. They cover the academic, technical, and personal perspectives of a chosen career. The teachers are [current] with the subjects they teach. Each year they must meet with industry representatives to keep the course material updated. The teachers also plan career speakers, part-time jobs for the students, field trips, job shadows, and internship opportunities. “The Regional Occupation Program also is a way for students to try-out career fields before investing time and money in college or training. If the students aren’t sure of their college major this may be a good way for them to decide. ROP can also get the students skills they need to work part-time to help pay for college expenses. The courses teach them to develop resumes, how to use effective interview techniques, and they identify sources of employment. In Contra Costa County ROP is a very popular and successful program. ‘In the past 23 years, over 150,000 students have completed ROP training. 80% are employed in related occupations or have continued with advanced training.’ This year there are 7,000 Contra Costa County students enrolled in the program.” Tasha Adamick, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “The A+ Schools Program is a school-improvement initiative established by the Outstanding Schools Act of 1993. The program is raising academic standards, opening new doors to higher education and introducing students to the teaching profession through tutoring and mentoring activities. The program is designed to provide incentives for local high school students to reduce the dropout rate, eliminate the general education track curriculum, provide better career pathways for all students, and work more closely with

30

business and higher-education leaders. The key goal of the A+ Program is to ensure that all students, when they graduate, are well prepared to pursue advanced education, employment or both…. Instead of the student getting paid for their labors and receiving a check, A+ students tutor and in turn may attend several select colleges for nearly nothing. “A+ designation is awarded to high schools that meet specific goals and certain criteria established by the state. It involves forming a partnership between the school, the community, and business to ensure that high standards of education are provided for all students. The requirements to be eligible for A+ are as follows: 1. You must complete an A+ schools agreement contract prior to graduation 2. Attend a designated A+ school for three consecutive years 3. Graduate with a grade point average of 2.5 (equivalent to a C+ on a 4.0 scale) 4. Graduate with a high school attendance record of 95% 5. Tutor or mentor for 50 hours (unpaid) 6. Maintain a record of good citizenship and avoid the unlawful use of drugs (+ alcohol) 7. Attend on a full time basis, a Missouri public community college or vocational-technical school, maintaining a 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale 8. Attempt to secure all available federal financial assistance funds that do not require repayment. “By signing the A+ Participation Agreement, students are simply indicating interest in the A+ program and are not under contract to use their A+ money if they decide to attend another school. If you do attend any Missouri public community college, vocational, or technical school, A+ pays for the cost of your tuition, courses required books, and general fees assessed to all students. The only fee not covered by A+ is the cost of your housing while at school.” Sara Jensen, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “The national Groundhog Job Shadow Day has been around since 1998. [In 1999] two million students shadowed 75,000 different workplaces. Not only does job shadowing help students, it also helps businesses [recruit employees]. It allows businesses to show off their companies…and lets students [discover] the knowledge and skills it takes to succeed in the workplace. It helps [businesses] establish closer more understanding working relationships with local educators and gives them [an opportunity]

31

to support their local schools. [Shadow day] also [demonstrates] that school equals success.” Jamie Faulkner, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “I found a program [promoted by] the National Academy Foundation (NFC) called Information Technology (IT). It has helped several people get high paying jobs right out of high school.… People can [also] go part time while still [holding a] job. After most of them completed their course, they were able to move up in their job or quit their job and move to a better job that paid more. … “Most people here would like to get a better education but cannot afford it…. Some would just like to get a raise by going to a night class. They could do this by going into the IT program.… Maybe it would help lower prices for many classes so more people will start going back to school. It can be used by high schools across the country. This network of rigorous academies will be a key element in preparing our information technology workforce for the next century. The curriculum embodies the latest teaching strategies, providing students the flexibility and skills needed in this rapidly emerging field. It consists of 9th to 12th grades curriculum aligned with relevant academic, employment, and workplace standards. It also provides opportunities to partner with community colleges and universities. The materials will be delivered to the teachers in an online format. The teaching could be done via a teacher in the classroom or by a classroom TV (where a teacher can teach a class with lots of people in different places). “There is already a program in Salem that is kind of like this. It is called TCRC. It is located in the front of the armory. It already has all the equipment for the classroom TV. It has been working for at least six months and has had two classes. It is slowly getting more people as each class comes along. This is probably what would happen to the IT program…if we were to have it come in…. “Some 18-year-old may start out earning $50,000 to $70,000 a year as a network administrator. [Many students] think they don’t need [this training] but if they think that way, they may be unemployable…. The programs' money incentives could help change those kids' minds…. It probably won't cost that much to get enrolled. That should provide some of the kids that think they don’t need [training] a good reason if they think about it.

32

“I think that this program will help hundreds of people down the road as it gains popularity….People around here have to travel to get a night class that is in their price range. But in the long run they spend more on gas than on the class, so it is a [losing] situation. This is why I think that the town and school should get this program so that people will not have to waste gas, and they will not have to pay so much money just for a night class to get a better life Kevin Pyles, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “Latitudes International, Inc. is a non-profit organization, which I feel is really aimed at youth apprenticeship. Daniel J. Miller founded Latitudes International, Inc. He developed this program because of his love for travel, culture and his knowledge of construction. Participants get to travel to many different regions of the world and volunteer their skills to a helpful cause. Not only do the volunteers get to travel worldwide they also have an unforgettable chance to interact with the local people. Latitudes International, Inc. promotes individual growth, leadership skills, and problem solving skills. “There are three main components to a Latitudes’ trip: Group community service projects, apprenticeship, and Cultural Immersion Group community service projects take place during the morning. Here you share work experience with the whole Latitudes team as well as the locals. Projects are done depending on what is best for the community. Examples include: building wheel chair ramps, planting trees, painting, and a little bit of carpentry. After lunch the apprenticeship aspect begins. During this time individuals follow their own interests. The only requirement that must be met is that your project allows you to become part of the community. You may volunteer at a store, health clinic or even tutor a student. Cultural immersion is the third phase of the Latitudes International, Inc. During this phase you discover the culture of the particular region you happen to be in. “One obvious pro to the Latitudes International, Inc. program is you get to travel to different parts of the world at no expense to you. Latitudes International, Inc pays for all meals, plane tickets, and project materials. You may be asked to help prepare the meals, but in return you get the experience of getting the "local” cuisine. For accommodations volunteers live at campgrounds, community centers, or even have the chance to live with a local family. “Building leadership skills and learning responsibility is another pro of the Latitudes International Inc. program. Volunteers are put in situations

33

everyday where both leadership and responsibility play a vital role. It is your responsibility to get the task that is assigned to you done. Leadership skills are definitely important in this program. You must be able to step up to the challenge and get the job done. Sometimes you might have to motivate yourself or others. Responsibility and leadership sills are something you leave with and can use the rest of your life. “Teamwork is another everyday life skill that is built thanks to the Latitudes International, Inc. program. Every morning volunteers must work as part of a team. Everyone must work together for one common goal; Get the job done. Not only must you get the job done, but also it must be right. Volunteers depend on one another and inevitably a bond is formed. Without teamwork Latitudes International would not be possible. “Social skills are also developed due to the time spent together. To me this is yet another one of the many pros to being in the Latitudes program. By social skills I do not mean being popular. Social skills are simply being able to get along with others, whether you have known them for years or have just met. Social skills are important in everyday life especially the work place. “Another pro is the fact that you are exposed to cultural sensitivity. While on your mission you will learn about a lifestyle completely different from your own. This is truly a chance of a lifetime, to be able to learn about different cultures. Instead of learning about these cultures in a textbook, you literally receive hands on training. What better way is there to learn? “One [drawback] of the Latitude International, Inc. program is that you are far away form family and friends. However, this is only a month long program, one that could positively change your life forever. During this one-month that you are away from home think of everything that is gained. You are taught important leadership skills and learn the true meaning of responsibility. You are exposed to a culture different from your own. This small negative of being away from your family could be changed into a positive learning experience. “In conclusion I feel the Latitudes International, Inc. is a wonderful program. Everyday life skills are taught and strengthened thanks to this program. Not only are participants taught responsibility, leadership, and teamwork, they are also taught to understand different cultures. This

34

program is really aimed at youth apprenticeship and benefiting the participants.” Amanda Stratton, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “We do have some programs that introduce a variety of careers such as career day. On this day, many speakers come to our school. There is a wide range of professionals at many different jobs. The students go and listen to four jobs that they have selected. This gives the students a chance to ask any questions they want, plus an overview of what the job consists of. This is a good way to explain the options of careers a student has, but what it doesn't do, is allow students to get hands on experience at that job. We now also have a required job shadowing, one day out of the year for juniors. Now, this program does allow hand on experience, but it's only for one job and only one day. We also have COE and CBOE. These programs let students work half a day and go to school for half a day. They allow students to make money and get job training. Some jobs are training that relate to their careers, but others are at fast food restaurants or grocery stores. All of these programs are good programs. “There are some very well developed programs for those that know what career path they are taking. One program that is very much career related for those going into technical careers is RTI (Rolla Technical Institute). Juniors and seniors that are interested can go to RTI to get hands on experience on mechanical work or drafting and other technical related works. They can choose to go half a day to Rolla and half a day to school, or selected seniors can choose to go a full day at RTI. For future teachers, we have a program of cadet teaching. In this program the students will take two hours a day out of their schedule to help and learn from other teachers.” Ashley Nivens, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “The mission of the Junior Achievement Company is to ensure that every child in America has a fundamental understanding of the free enterprise system.… The Junior Achievement’s National Headquarters and Service Center are located in Colorado Springs, CO. This provides support for 158 local offices that carry out the mission. Altogether Junior Achievement reaches about 5.2 million students worldwide. “Junior Achievement programs begin at the elementary school level, teaching children how they impact the world around them as individuals, workers, and consumers. Junior Achievement programs continue through the middle and high school grades, preparing students for future economic

35

and workforce issues they will face. Volunteers are a very important part of the Junior Achievement program, volunteers who take time out of their day to make a difference. … “Throughout Junior Achievement’s kindergarten through 12th grade programs, students use information, apply basic skills, think critically, and solve complex problems.… Junior Achievement’s High School Programs help students make informed, intelligent decisions about their usefulness in the business world…. “With the support and guidance of volunteer consultants from the local business community, the JA Company Program provides basic economic education.... The students organize and operate an actual business enterprise, so students not only learn how businesses function, they also learn about the structure of the U.S. free enterprise system and the benefits it provides. JA Economic is a one-semester course that examines the fundamental concepts of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international economics. Students receive standard textbooks and study guides. JA uses computer-based business simulations and a student-run company. “GLOBE is a cross-culture experience that features the fundamentals of international trade. GLOBE, meaning Global Learning of Business Enterprise, is a program offered exclusively by JA International Inc. The students get a text that emphasizes global economics and business, and the students also compete in an online business simulation, or they can operate a joint-venture company with JA students in another country…. “Salem High School has many school-to-work programs, but I think if we were to get the Junior Achievement Program, students would be much more ready for the tough life ahead of them.” Jerad Howard, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “At Salem High School there are many programs designed to improve the job prospects of those students who traditionally have had a limited career outlook. Among these programs is the cooperative BOE, Business Occupational Education program, commonly called [apprentice programs]. “[BOE] is a work-study program for seniors, which allows participants to attend high school on a part time basis and work during the remainder of the day. There is a written agreement between Salem High School and the students’ employer, which ensures the student, will receive appropriate

36

vocational training. The learning activities are planned and supervised by school officials and employers so that everyone Involved contributes to the learning experience. [Apprentice programs] students usually take courses related to their jobs, such as business technology, business law, desktop publishing or marketing.” Maggie Rassor, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “The Denver Public Schools have a Career Education Center (CEC). This special high school offers over 25 career programs to meet the needs of nearly every student seeking individualized attention in specific areas or careers. Some students go to their regular high school for the first half of the day and then go to the CEC for the second half to take a career-based class. Others are in the Scholars Program; they attend the CEC all day long every day. To be in this program, though, the students must be recommended by teachers and have a personal interview with a selection committee. If selected they take both their required classes and their career classes at the CEC. The CEC offers internships for advanced students, college credit for students in selected programs, foreign languages, and advanced placement courses. What does the CEC school offer that most schools do not? The answer is a bridge connecting students to the work world and as well as the postsecondary school. High school prepares students for further education, but it does not really prepare students for jobs in the real world. This school would create the preparation needed and therefore increase the benefits for the students in all categories.” Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “A program called Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) that our high school is in the process of putting into its curriculum. The program is four semesters long and starts when the student is a junior in high school. This program allows students to study towards a CCNA certificate while still receiving high school credits.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “The idea first came to me when I was researching the Career Education Center (CEC) located in Denver, Colorado. Their mission statement is what really sparked my interest: ‘A unique journey preparing students for career success in a global community.’ Their program consists of an extended campus facility where the students remain at their “home school” taking required academic classes during the first half of the day, and then spend the rest at CEC taking one career-oriented class. This first reminded me of the usual high school co-op program but with even more opportunities. CEC offers courses in any career from athletic training, child care,

37

restaurant business, to science and research. There is something for everyone and that is why it works. “But what if CEC could be modified even more? Imagine CEC in the Quad Cities (Iowa-Illinois region) as a summer program that is not affiliated with the schools. The possibilities are endless. Now the student has all the opportunities to take as many courses as he/she likes and experience all the different work areas. The student would sign up for classes just like any summer school and then attend one to three classes a day. Not only would this program weed out the students who are only taking CEC to get out of the normal school classes, it would also provide an opportunity for the above-average students who did not have time for CEC in their AP schedules. ‘We are not looking for people who are running away from something—we want students who are running to find something.’ With its modifications, that is exactly what the new CEC would be. “The new CEC would, of course, have the usual problems—insufficient funds, finding teachers, etc.—but the idea is still fresh, and it is flexible. The world wants academic success for students, and we keep looking for new ways to teach.” Casey Moore, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois An anonymous student favors an open environment: “The open environment encourages us to be responsible self-starters and teaches strong interpersonal communication skills.” That student would no doubt like the Fridley program described below: “One of the programs that I researched and really liked was at Fridley High School in Minnesota. In this program, the student turns in an application his/her sophomore year to see if he/she will be accepted for the junior year. If the student passes the minimum standards of attendance and the grade point average, then he/she will move to the interview stage. Members of the school and business interview the applicant to determine potential success. This simulates a real-world job application experience. During the first semester, the student gets to tour all of the possible worksites. When a student selects the work site of his/her choice, he/she prepares a resume and submits an application to the employer. If the employer accepts it, the student will become a legal employee of that company at the start of the second semester of the junior year. Mentors are an integral part of the success of the program at Fridley High School. The mentor is selected by

38

the business partner on the merits of appropriate skills, communication ability, and leadership. The job orientation, job responsibilities, wages, and work hours are generally identical to any new hire for the employer. The only exception is that two students will fill one job. Student A will work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while Student B is in the classroom. Student B works Tuesday and Thursday while Student A is back at high school in the classroom. The next week, the students rotate so that they both get an even amount of time at both places. After two years, Fridley Youth apprenticeship program had demonstrated the following: 1. 1. Average increase in GPA by more than one grade point. 2. 2. Improved overall attendance in the classroom and on-the-job. 2. 3. Fewer visits to the principal's office 3. 3.. Increased level of responsibility being demonstrated 4. 4. Regardless of what job the youth is performing at the worksite, work readiness skills are one hundred percent transferable. Jessica Cook, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Jessica claims that Fridley offers much more than book learning: [The Fridley Youth apprenticeship program] helps build character…. It teaches students to how to accept responsibility and be diligent. Sitting in the same classroom [at] the same desk, and going over the same subject can cause students to lose interest. [The Fridley program takes] students outside the classroom and stimulates enthusiasm. Going to work and accepting responsibility helps students [mature] and gives them a taste of the real world.…The program is designed to make sure that students learning everything that [is required by the state].… These programs are optional so if parents feel their children's education is threatened in any way, they [don’t have to] take the apprenticeship route.” Jessica Cook, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Other students came up with plans of their own: “I have come up with a plan for all junior and senior students. Each student either takes a two-year or two-week apprenticeship course. The two-year course is for the students who show greater interest in working rather than schoolwork, while the two week program is for the students who plan to attend college. This would help them decide what field of work they are interested in.” Amanda Stewart, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

39

Incentives To Learning “Scholarships could also be made available to the students based on the length of their apprenticeship and their performance.” Ross Day, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Garrett has it all worked out: “The computer-networking program at Kinsley High School would be offered to any junior and senior student interested in the computer networking field. Juniors and seniors have lower loads of required classes and a one-hour class in networking would easily fit into their schedules. The resources for this program are already in place at the school and in the community. The teachers who qualify for this program are Tom Barnes, a Cisco Certified educator; John Davis, a computer teacher at Kinsley High School; and Richard Thompson, a professional computer net worker living in Kinsley. The computer lab at the high school would be sufficient for use for this class. Hands-on training could come from Thompson, who works with networks throughout the community…. Students will have a workable skill once they graduate. Students going into this program should have some security that they are not taking this training for a worthless certificate. The students should have a job when they are done with their training. Second, students will gain a certificate of national recognition. The Network+ certificate is recognized by companies including Novell, Intel, Lotus, 3Com and Cisco. Third, the program enhances the local work force. The students going through this program will be trained for the future of networking.” Garrett Schmidt, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Holly has a unique take on the real world where adults often pay for their own training to further their careers: “Employers want to work with students who will take their apprenticeship seriously, right? So pay them. I know that such an idea raises many questions, but I feel that it answers a far more important one. Paying students is the obvious thing to do. If the purpose of apprenticeship is to teach students about the real world, then the same rules should apply. “This means that not only would students be paid, but that employers would have the reserved right to fire any student who is not fulfilling the expectations of his or her position. What do students do if fired from their apprenticeship? They simply suffer the consequences [and] fill their schedules with other classes.… One of the classic methods of insuring quality in recruitment is to have an age and grade point average

40

requirement. Students would be required to be at least 17 years old and have at least a 3.5 grade point average. Of course, I realize that those requirements do not always ensure responsibility, but I believe they help. If a student meets those requirements, but is found not to be responsible, the right of the employer to fire becomes effective. “Employers have certain responsibilities [too].… They must remember that the students are still in high school, and that some things, seemingly unimportant to an adult, may be absolutely crucial to a high school student. Attending prom, for instance, can be a memorable milestones in [a teenager’s] life.... Therefore employers must be reasonably flexible about letting students have days off for primping, going on class trips, etc. Employers must pay the students. [This would not be unreasonable if] only qualified students were admitted into the program.” Holly Frillman, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Holly has also put a lot of thought into ways to reform current programs: “The same rules that apply at school would also apply during school hours at the work-study program; things [pertaining to] dress, eating, smoking and drinking, no matter what the age of the student. While it is true that in the eyes of the law, someone who is eighteen has the right to smoke and chew tobacco, in the eyes of the school, it is not acceptable. Therefore, smoking on the job would be just as punishable as smoking at school. Wearing a halter-top would be equally unacceptable, and Snicker bars are not a part of the job description. “Finally, [to maintain focus], the same job would be retained throughout the school year. …Often, as soon as the employee learns the ropes of a job, he or she is told, ‘Well, it’s time for you to move on to another job now.’ [Under such an] arrangement, [little] progress is made [and] students’ days are wasted while they receive credit for learning next to nothing. … “The majority of apprenticeship and work-study programs…provide an easy way out for those students who have no motivation to participate in school or to learn. Often, the apprenticeships that are offered are in fields that do not provide a solid financial future, and usually, there is nothing offered at all in the professional fields. It is my belief that such programs should be wiped out entirely and replaced with more qualitative ones.” Holly Frillman, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri

41

Casey draws attention to existing local resources: “If a program were proposed throughout the Edwards County area, schools would be able to provide classes with the staff that they have. Kinsley High School has a technology teacher and a science teacher both with over 20 years of teaching experience. The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a program that could be brought to the school, for the school has a teacher who is qualified to teach it. The technology teacher would be able to teach interested students the skills needed to run new machinery. Edwards County also has local grain elevators that students would be able to explore during agricultural classes. At these elevators, students could [learn from] demonstrations.…Many students already work for area farmers and many farmers are interested in having a hired hand. There should not be a problem with finding an agricultural job.” Casey McAvoy, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas “Offering the youth apprenticeship program in politics will give the students a great opportunity to enhance their education. Possible employers for a political apprenticeship include the courthouse, the local lawyer, and the police station. The Dodge City Community College (D.C.C.C.) [is considering] a possible college partnership with my school. This partnership will allow students to gain college credits. The college may also pick up part of the expense. “One aspect of the program would cover law, with the class focusing on the specifics of crimes and punishments. Another class would deal with community government. This would explain how procedures are carried out on the local level. Politics is an extremely broad subject that will allow the program to contain many different classes. The main objective of this program is to teach students the basics about government. I want students taking this program to have an edge over the average student. A final exam will be taken by all students and must be passed in order to pass the program. Requiring the final exam will make sure that students taking the course are receiving every piece of knowledge the course is offering. The final exam will also eliminate those students who are taking the class only to avoid taking the traditional classes.” Lo Vette, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Josh engages in wishful thinking: “I would have liked to have an electronic apprenticeship. An electronic apprenticeship would give the kids in my area a chance to see if they were truly interested in this kind of career. This apprenticeship would allow

42

students to learn important information about an electronic profession. …They could get extra credits by learning some of the procedures that would be taught in college; this would give them credits that they would not have to earn once they got into college. Taking this apprenticeship would [introduce] them to the work they would be doing in college classes with [this focus]. Going through [such a] program would teach a student so much that the business mentor would benefit as well as the student. It would allow employers to see that [they could hire] good productive workers in the future. Also, it helps the student a great deal by letting him miss some of the college classes that he has already been taught.…[On the other hand,] students may find they don’t like fixing or rebuilding computers, but would rather work on appliances or [other types of machinery.…They could learn how to fix broken slot machines in casinos, or he could [even learn] to work on missiles for the military. This [apprenticeship] would show students what kind of work they could be doing when they graduates college and [are ready to enter] the workplace.” Josh Fowler, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Lindsey’s plan involves a medical oriented apprenticeship: “By implementing some type of medical care apprenticeship, students in small communities would benefit in many ways. First, they will be introduced to a career field, learn fundamentals, and learn about the job market. Students [might] take an introductory course like Fundamentals of the Medical Field during their senior year.…Students would learn from nurse practitioners, doctors, medical transcribers, and receptionists. They would go to the learning site for half a day during one semester and then do small odd jobs in the doctor’s office or [at the local] hospital. These tasks could consist of cleaning facilities, sterilizing tools, taking blood pressure, and doing preliminary procedures.… The students would eventually work side-by-side with [medical professionals].…[Hopefully] an organization in the community could sponsor students or make [direct] contributions to the program. Funding through state and national programs should also be considered.” Lindsey VanNahmen, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Another Wishful Thinker “If I were to assume the position of principal at our high school, I would require [at least] one apprenticeship class to graduate. Classes would [describe the job market] and job qualifications. [Students would be placed] in jobs allowing them to have a hands-on look.… These on-the-job classes could be taken after school.... Applied learning has been proven to be one

43

of the best methods of teaching. My program would take applied learning to the next level and place students in real job situations. I wish that a plan similar to the one I have discussed would be introduced into our high school.… Many people agree…but school funds and transportation problems have hindered its advancement. Although we do have one form of school-to-work program, I would love to see a broader choice. Youth apprenticeships are the education of the future.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Robert’s “education of the future” would help Amanda and others: or Amanda wants to use the process of elimination in choosing her career: “We need an apprenticeship that wills last two weeks. This would give students some idea of what is in their futures. Many students, like me, have not yet made up our minds about what occupation we are going to choose in the future. A two-week program, can [help us] through a process of elimination. We could take one course for two weeks and then take a different one for the next two weeks. These mini-apprenticeships would only have to run for one semester. Every two weeks, students could choose from a variety of apprenticeships that they think might interest them. This would [narrow] the job. If we like one of the apprenticeships, then we can look deeper into it. However, if we don’t like one of the apprenticeships, we know we only have two weeks of it rather than two years to decide that career isn’t for us. ”I believe this is a way to come up with a future occupation more easily for both the college-bound and the non college-bound. I would be [more comfortable] if I had a feel for what I would like to major in. Through the two-week program, I would be able to look further into selected choices. This would also help me in choosing a college. I would look for a school that was known for its great program in the field I was going to [make my career]. The two-year apprenticeship will benefit those students who are not planning on attending college for they will have a foundation when they step into the real work-world. Both of the programs will help both junior and senior students alike.” Amanda Stewart, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Dilemmas “What about students like myself who would possibly be interested in attending an apprenticeship program, but decide not to, due to circumstances? I would like to have taken cosmetology classes my junior and senior year to see if I would like to go into this field as an adult, but I

44

was detoured from this because a student has to leave school in the afternoon in order to [attend the class]. If I [had done] that, I would have missed out on most of my advanced classes. If I didn’t like cosmetology, then I just took two years to learn that this was not what I wanted to do. Colleges would see me as an average student rather than advanced because of the decision I could have made.” Amanda Stewart, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “I have always wanted to be a photographer. However, the area I live in does not produce the type of photo-shoots and advertisements that I want to get involved with. I need to go elsewhere, such as Chicago to experience the full reality of the work I want to do. This could be possible if I could get into a school-to-work program at a smaller firm in the Quad Cities by going there after my morning classes and getting hands-on experience with the cameras and the shoots. This would put me ahead at the end of high school. However, to fully understand my desired profession I could get into an apprenticeship with a much larger corporation in Chicago and spend every other weekend or so shooting there and learning even more skills” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Other Hard Questions “What does the community need to do about the kids who do not want to continue their education after high school? Should they be [ignored]? … How can people change these trends? Mindy Petersen, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Are students missing too much school? Are they getting too involved at too young an age? Will they be mature enough to deal with the professionals? These are all questions that are being [asked] by the employers and teachers.” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “Everyone [wonders] about what it is they [might] want to do when they get older. Who are they going to marry? Where are they going to live? But almost the most important thing on everyone’s list is what he or she is going to do to make a living for the rest of his or her life. However, most young people do not know for sure what they want to do. They may go from wanting to be an astronaut to biomedical research. It seems as if their goals are always changing.” Mae Marie Freyermuth, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

45

College Is Not For Everyone “There are many [reasons] kids do not go to college. [Maybe] they can't afford it, they don't want to leave home, or they just plain hate school. Whatever the reason, college doesn't have to be for everyone. … For students who will not pursue education at the next level, an apprenticeship program may be a better [choice]. They may [discover] they excel at a job they enjoy straight out of high school. You can't get a much better deal than that.” Jessica Cook, Rockridge HS, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Obstacles “The drawbacks to an agronomy youth apprenticeship program are not numerous, but they are tough to bear. The first drawback is that it requires seasonal long hours. During the spring, summer, and fall, hours can be very long and tiring. These are the busiest times of the year due to planting, harvesting, and preparing land to be planted in the upcoming months. This requires the student to be working long hours in order to complete the work and to do the consulting before the weekend. The second drawback is that the student would be working in hazardous conditions. Many of the farmers will be spraying fields during the growing seasons so one must be aware of the types of herbicides and pesticides that were applied. One must also be aware of the amount of time they must stay out of the field after it has been sprayed. The third drawback is the limited employment agronomists have…to work with crops [in] agricultural areas. There are not many agricultural areas in the United States and of the ones that do exist, few…have a need for [this service]. ”To overcome the drawbacks of this program will take some work but it can be done. The obstacle of the seasonal long hours is the hardest one to overcome due to the fact that it is just part of the job. One can overcome this by using shifts where [students] would work so many hours or days and then one can do more of the studying and researching while another student works in the fields. As far as the hazardous conditions; it is part of the job. [Students can be taught] the dangers of different chemicals and the amount of time a person must stay out of the field after the chemical is applied. To conquer the limited employment issue students [could] use the Internet to share their information with others. They could use technology to…allow [people] in non-rural areas to learn from someone who knows something about agronomy.” Mitch Schinstock, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas

46

It Works “I just began participating in the A+ Program this year as a senior. It is a great opportunity to get my further education for free. I didn't take advantage of this program my first three years of high school, so I am doing all of my tutoring this year. My high school offers A+ tutoring as a class so I get an hour of tutoring each day. I also think that tutoring is a wonderful experience. I get to work with kids a few years younger than me. I have become good friends with several of those students since I have begun tutoring. I have also come to realize that these younger students really look up to me and my actions and words do affect them. This has proven to be as rewarding, if not more rewarding than the two free years of school. “At the beginning of this school year I had no idea what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do with my life after graduation, but since I have began tutoring and have seen the rewards of teaching I am seriously considering becoming a teacher. The A+ program has not only giving me the opportunity to go to school for free, but has also helped me discover a lifelong occupation.” Sara Jensen, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri Landon seems to have found a situation that suits him fine: “As I tear into the motor of our newest specimen, I think of how I could be sitting in a class room learning about subjects I will never use again. I strip this foreign unit to the depths of its soul to determine its malfunction. Clearing the liquid substance away from the final destiny is the most exciting part of the operation. Once it is gone I will be able to fix this machine so it will run again. He shares the aftermath of a job well done: “I finally find where the problem is and prepare to fix it. I glance at the clock and notice that I have been working on this for over two hours and it is time to leave. I clean my tools and leave the shop to go to class. Once in class I sit down and begin to read about other operations on diesel running machines. Today we learn how to adjust the timing on motors. When the bell finally rings, I get my books and head home. I think of my day’s experience and how I cannot wait to get done with the tractor motor and start it up. There is no greater achievement than to finish a job and have it work. [I’m] attending a vocational technical school in diesel mechanics. I feel the best way for me to learn my future occupation is to work and learn at the same time. Through this educational experience I will learn many things about myself and what I want to do with my future. After I complete

47

this course I will be able to determine if I want to continue working on machines for the rest of my life or find a new profession. This program not only teaches me how to work on machines, but it will also teach me to cooperate with other people. “The APT (Ag Power Technology) program simulates a business operation. It consists of on campus studies and a paid internship that comprises half the program. Designed by service technicians and using state-of-the-art equipment, an experienced faculty gives me the highest degree of educational training. Workplace skill development is integrated throughout the curriculum to insure that graduates are fully prepared to step into successful careers in agricultural business. “This program seems almost perfect, yet it does have some [problems]. When I am in the community working, I cannot take classes, so if I want to take a double major I am unable to take the classes I need. This makes it difficult if I am not sure exactly what I want to do when I am finished with my college career. “Another setback to participating in a program like this is that it requires hard work and dedication. I know that I am capable of all of this, but not everyone wants to work all day especially if it involves hard, strenuous work. However, I feel this program is the best opportunity for me…. I can make money while going to school…. This will help take care of my expenses. “With the knowledge I can earn by going through this educational experience I will be able to go directly out of college and obtain a good job. There are job openings all over for this profession. “When I return to class, I begin to put the engine back together. The whole time I am doing this I cannot help but feel excited. I work hard and am just about done when someone comes over and compliments me on the job I am doing. This causes me to work even harder. I place the motor back in the tractor and hook all of its components to the proper places. “Finally, I have completed the first job I have ever been given to do myself. I go to my instructor and tell him I am done. He walks with me to the tractor, and he inspects it to see if it is hooked up right. He gives me the okay to start up the machine; so I jump in the cab and sit down. If I had not taken this program I would not have been able to experience the joy I am

48

experiencing now. I turn the key slowly and it fires up. I nearly jump out of the cab to look at what I had completed. It is running perfectly.” Landon Cunningham, Medicine Lodge High, Medicine Lodge, Kansas Personal Objectives “When I start college in the fall of 2001, I will attend the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. I plan to attend for six years while obtaining my Doctor of Pharmacy…If there were an apprenticeship program for students wanting to pursue the pharmacy profession, it would be to my advantage. It would give me valuable pharmacy experience while I’m still in high school preparing for college.… Maybe if the science department had their own apprenticeship program set up for students that wanted to excel in a medical related field, it would catch the interest of more students that want jobs when they graduate, not in business, but in medicine or pharmacy like me. “The schools could go as far as to develop specialized classes that furthered one’s knowledge of a certain science related field such as one that dealt directly with medicine, or the physics related to each medicine and its effects on the body. If the programs were set up within special guidelines so only those students who are over achievers in the normal core subject area could be eligible for enrollment in the program, it would give them a [head start in their chosen profession]. … “I can only see positive things coming from a program related to the science field. If a student wanted to further his learning in a science-related field he could do so, in the classroom and in the work place. A student could gain an [advantage] over the rest of the students [seek]ing placement in the same job by attaining in high school some of the skills needed while still having fun with his friends.” Josh Jones, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “In 1994, the federal school-to-work grant was applied for by the state of Indiana under the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994. In 1995, the state received a five-year venture capital grant of $32 million from the U.S. Department of Education and Labor. This money was used to build Indiana's school-to-work system. In 1995-96, Regional School-to-Work (STW) Partnerships received $10,000 in planning grants and in 1996-97 after completing the Regional STW Plan they began receiving implementation grants.

49

“Indiana's School-to-Work system is part of a statewide effort to help students get a head start on a life-long career path….This type of education is hands-on. The student actually gets immediate…benefits from it. They get paid for learning and gain work skills. …Work-based programs, like Indiana's STW system, link classroom concepts to hands-on skill training [and] increases students' career options…The average student is better prepared for the working world than those who do not go through a system similar to this one. … “A program similar to this one would be a great addition to the Salem Senior High School's curriculum. It would benefit all students, their parents, local businesses, and the community as a whole. More students would go into the workforce better prepared. They would attain the skills they need for their future career goals.” Julie Inman, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “Job shadowing is an important thing. I’m glad that I took part in it, or today I might be on my way to ‘mortician school’. If you’re still in school, get involved in a job shadow. If there is no programs like the Groundhog Job Shadow Day, then contact a place of work that you are interested in and set the shadow up yourself. If you’re out of high school, and maybe even out of college, and have a career firmly established then allow a student to come and shadow you. Remember that children are the future, and we need to help them now, so they can help us later.” Jamie Faulkner, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “I am a part of an extracurricular club called FTA, Future Teachers of America. In this program I have the opportunity to cadet teach a second grade class. This means I go to a nearby elementary school for two hours every day during my regularly scheduled classes. The teacher I observe and help is Miss Karen Rinehart. I grade papers, run off tests and worksheets, and do many other time consuming jobs that often weigh down teachers. While I am completing these tasks, I also have the opportunity to see how Miss Rinehart handles activities and projects. I [observe] methods I would have never thought of on my own. The best part of cadet teaching, however, is the interaction with the kids and the environment. It not only shows me what my strengths are, but also my weaknesses and what I need to focus on. I can see when I get frustrated, and note the area I will need to work on. “I get to see [first hand] the responsibilities that teachers have. If I do become a teacher, I will be more prepared for the job. I feel that cadet

50

teaching has [shown me what to] and I believe it will continue to help me. Future Teachers of America is a wonderful experience for students who want to be teachers.” ReVay Crocker, Salem High School, Salem, Missouri “When an employer sees that students have computer experience, they become more marketable. Credible experience comes with on-the-job training because a student’s work can be backed up with proof of good training. That makes them an experienced candidate for a position. As a bonus, when they enter college, they do not have to waste one or two years in college trying to figure out what career they want to pursue. They can take more advanced courses in the field of their choice; in my case, computer science. Those choosing this career early will already know how to troubleshoot computer problems, how to set up and repair hardware, and how to network.…If we can begin studying the basics of computers in high school, we will be that much further ahead when we begin our college careers.” Alisha Herrmann, Kinsley High School, Kinsley, Kansas Austin believes he is on the right track “By taking [a course in] network applications, I [learned a lot about] computer engineering. With the rapid spread of computers and information technology, it has generated a need for highly trained workers to design and develop new technologies. Computer engineers work with hardware and software aspects of systems design and development. They usually apply the theory and principles of science and mathematics to design software, hardware, networks, and processes to solve technical problems. Computer engineers are broken down into two specific jobs: Computer hardware engineers and software engineers. Computer hardware engineers usually design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of computer hardware, such as chips or device controllers. Software engineers, on the other hand, can be involved in the design and development of software systems for control and automation of manufacturing, business, and management process. They may research, design, and test operating system software, compilers, and network distribution software. “My course taught me to install programs, which helps me in trouble shooting; mapping network drives, which helps further educate me in the broad computer field but not necessarily in my exact field of study; and fixing computers. It gave me a hands-on experience with computers in general. The aspect I found most beneficial from my apprenticeship was

51

being able to ask a computer technician when I had questions. With the advancement of new technologies, many people are taking advantage of this highly competitive field. The main reason people go into this field is to make money. (At least that is why I am going into this field!) Yet, the reasons for the immense interest in computer technology seem to go beyond just financial gain. Computers are…the future, and to stay competitive in the world of mother boards, RAM, CPU's, one will find his skills must be top-notch to survive. Along with the benefits, there were also disadvantages [to the] apprenticeship.… It kept me from enrolling in other classes…such as an extra math class or an art class, which [might have] made me a more wellrounded person. Some say I am jumping into a world of work with the pressures of an adult lifestyle while I should be enjoying life as a teenager. Skeptics suggest that kids like me should relish in the freedoms a young life provides by finding satisfaction in high school-based classes. Yet, what kind of future does my life hold if I muddle away in electives that have no real connection to my dreams? In the future I hope to be working for a huge computer firm, fixing and testing computers. Taking network applications in high school will play a major role in getting me prepared for my future in computer engineering.” Austin Davis, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “Ruth Seibert completed the Animal Science and Management apprentice program at Live Oaks during her senior year. She took her math and sciences seriously in the classroom and worked for a veterinary business for the rest of the school day. Ruth says finding a job after she graduated was very easy. Because of her apprenticeship she has a large scholarship to Ohio State University to study Aviary Medicine. “I would luxuriate having an opportunity like Ruth’s to help me gain skills and knowledge to aid me in the work force. Youth Apprenticeships would help students moving on to college feel less beleaguered by the thought of having to choose an area to study in college or a job to obtain to support a family. Apprenticeship programs could help ensure a brighter economy for our country as well as a higher level of learning for all.” Kaysi Booth, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “I had a job shadowing experience my junior year, and I wish we had a youth apprenticeship program with this company so I could follow up on it. I went to Case-IH and followed a nice employee around for the day. He

52

showed me the ropes and even let me mess around on their 3D CAD system. This experience has helped me choose the field I want to go into.” Robert Drayer, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “The work-study program has helped me in many ways. I am very interested in the field of mental health. I am working at Arrow-Head West, which is a mental health agency. It allows me to work with the mentally and physically challenged. I have learned to be patient and respective, no matter how upset the clients make me. Also, the clients have taught me that being handicapped is not the end of the world. It means that there is a whole new world I had not seen before. The Clients have shown me the real meaning of dedication, what pride is, and the importance of family. I love to work with handicapped people. They taught me more than I ever thought possible. Even if I decide on a different field, I will still have the memories of the work-study program to last me a lifetime.” Jennifer Marsh, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas “I would like to discuss the youth apprenticeship program in financial services. This program is for someone who has an interest in becoming a public relations specialist, an auditor, an accountant, and so on. Having an interest in being an accountant myself, I believe that this financial service apprenticeship program should come to our Quad Cities.… It would provide the students with the opportunity to assist people with their financial needs and decisions, and to apply math and business knowledge. They would also be able to work in a professional environment that offers good salaries, excellent fringe benefits, continuing education, and good working conditions. I recently researched a financial service youth apprenticeship program that is provided by Wisconsin schools. This financial program allows the students to study the following courses: Principles of Banking, Business Law, Business Marketing and Operations from an NWTC instructor who has many years of banking experience. Also, with this program a student can earn nine credits toward required coursework or electives in many business programs at a technical college. If a young adult is interested in the financial world, this is the place to go.” Mae Marie Freyermuth, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois “My apprenticeship fits into my school schedule. I am taking an Advanced Agricultural Leadership course that allows me to help teach the Introduction to Agriculture class.…[Students learn] the basics of plant and animal science, breeds of animals, range, land, and livestock judging,

53

meats, and welding. The Advanced Leadership class is for those seniors who want to learn about leadership and teaching agriculture. “In order to participate in this apprenticeship, I had to take three years of agriculture classes. I had to start out with taking Introduction to Agriculture. During my sophomore year I had the choice of taking Plant and Animal Science, Welding, or Materials Processing. In my junior year I could take Welding, Materials Processing, or Agriculture Business. I also had the opportunity to apply to be a FFA officer in any of the last three years. … “I was chosen President of FFA to help [other students] through their first years. Some of these students are confused and not quite sure what direction they should be headed. I am always there for those who need help and for those who have questions; I am always there to help them find an answer. If I do not have the answers, I find the right ones. Being an officer is like being an assistant teacher. “There are a few pros and cons to this apprenticeship.… Teaching the younger agriculture students will help me to find out if this is really what I want to do in life. It also helps my public speaking skills. However, the students are so close to my age that they sometimes do not listen to me. They think they are equally as important and assume I do not know any more than they do. I also have students who deliberately try to cause trouble because they know that I can’t personally do anything to punish them.” Jessica Wesley, Medicine Lodge High School, Medicine Lodge, Kansas What Employers Want “’The primary concern of more than eighty percent of employers is finding workers with a good work ethic and appropriate social behavior-reliable, a good attitude, a good personality,’ noted the 1990 America’s Choice report.” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois What Employers Get “Employers who are willing to gradually invest a little effort with young students are having success.… For example, many high school students who were hired as part time entry-level workers now have managerial positions. Those who have gone through an apprentice program will already have learned and dealt with work ethic issues. With school-to-work

54

programs employers can be assured that students who complete the required curriculum have gained knowledge and developed some insight for the job. …Students who are willing to make a commitment and are willing to work at a goal, [improve] community relations and the work force. Apprenticeships and school-to-work programs help employers, the young adults, and the communities. The people who are demeaning these programs are not looking down the road to a better future for the younger generation. These opportunities produce a better work force and should be encouraged.” Cassandra Gulley, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois Rachel’s entire essay is produced below as she is such an eloquent advocate for special education and describes ways to improve the STEP Program “The program I am proposing to help special education students find a career and keep a job is similar to an existing program that we have here at my high school. We have a 2+2 Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP) and it involves two years of classroom work. The STEP program for freshman and sophomores is actually a class where students are taught skills like the importance of teamwork and problem solving. These two years of classroom experience help to prepare the student for entering the workplace. This can be a difficult transition for students with learning disabilities so the teacher must work one on one with the students, helping them each to develop his/her own plan for life. “The second two years of the STEP program involves the student going out and getting a job. The students work for 10-15 hours per week, and they are excused from the afternoon portion of their school day. The student then receives some high school credit for their time at work. I would like to see this limited to three days a week with the remaining time spent in the classroom reinforcing job skills. The teacher would still play a big part in the student’s life. [In my plan] individual plans would be discussed during the two days spent at school. This is a difficult time for the special education learner. The teacher, therefore, must be prepared to offer support and comfort to these students. “What STEP provides is a transition experience for disabled students. It is hard for anyone to leave the ease and comfort of their family and high school to go out into the workplace but imagine what it would be like to do this and have few life, social, and work skills. Most importantly, mentally handicapped people have very little community support so this makes the

55

transition even more trying. This is why a program to help disabled students find a job is necessary. “Many studies have been done that observe the positive outcomes from programs like STEP. It was found that almost 78% of students involved in programs similar to STEP were later employed with the average number of hours per week being 27. Out of these people, almost 90% indicated that they enjoyed their jobs. It is interesting to note that people involved in STEP have a higher employment rate than individuals without disabilities. Now, this may be due to the fact that the Department of Rehabilitation Services assists its clients in finding jobs, but it can’t hurt that the people are well trained. “You may be asking, what about the employer? As with any school-towork program, there are many employers who may not want to be involved. One reason is that employers may be hesitant to hire handicapped students when they could hire well-qualified adults. Also, the STEP program is very highly structured and detailed. The employer is involved with both the teacher and the student. This can be a big commitment for someone who already has many other responsibilities. The upside to this is that the Department of Rehabilitation Services assists the students in finding jobs where the employer will give the person all the support and attention that they need. “This program really means a lot to me personally. Being interested in a career teaching special education has made me fully aware of disabled learner’s needs and concerns. Many things that you and I take for granted are very difficult for special education students. This is exactly why I believe that there is a great need to support transitional school-to-work programs for everyone, especially the mentally handicapped. “Many studies show dismal futures for secondary special education students. High rates of low earnings, unemployment, and underemployment are a real concern with disabled citizens. One figure taken from a study done five years after graduation showed post secondary school and training program enrollment numbers of special education students at a low of 17%. This is compared to the 56% of the general population. There is an obvious need for improvement. “The program I am proposing to help special education students find a career and keep a job is similar to an existing program that we have here at

56

my high school. We have a 2+2 Secondary Transition Experience Program (STEP) and it involves two years of classroom work. The STEP program for freshman and sophomores is actually a class where students are taught skills like the importance of teamwork and problem solving. These two years of classroom experience help to prepare the student for entering the workplace. This can be a difficult transition for students with learning disabilities so the teacher must work one on one with the students, helping them each to develop his/her own plan for life. “The second two years of the STEP program involve the student going out and getting a job. The students work for 10-15 hours per week, and they are excused from the afternoon portion of their school day. The student then receives some high school credit for their time at work. I would like to see this limited to three days a week with the remaining time spent in the classroom reinforcing job skills. The teacher still plays a big part in the student’s life. The individual plans must be revised and discussed during the two days spent at school. The teacher must be prepared to offer support and comfort to the student. This is a very difficult time for the special education learner because he/she has little support from anyone else. “What STEP provides is a transition experience for disabled students. It is hard for anyone to leave the ease and comfort of their family and high school to go out into the workplace but imagine what it would be like to do this and have few life, social, and work skills. Most importantly, mentally handicapped people have very little community support so this makes this transition even more trying. This is why a program to help disabled students find a job is necessary. “Many studies have been done that observe the positive outcomes from programs like STEP. It was found that almost 78% of students involved in programs similar to STEP were later employed with the average number of hours per week being 27. Out of these people, almost 90% indicated that they enjoyed their jobs. It is interesting to note that people involved in STEP have a higher employment rate than individuals without disabilities. Now, this may be due to the fact that the Department of Rehabilitation Services assists its clients in finding jobs, but it can’t hurt that the people are well trained.” Rachael Dusenberry, Rockridge High School, Taylor Ridge, Illinois

57

58

Instructions for the Youth Apprenticeship 2001 Harry Singer Foundation National Essay Contest
You should use the required reading as background, and the Internet as a research tool. You are to come up with either your own youth apprenticeship plan or reasons to support an existing proposal that you discover via your research. Include arguments pro and con in your essay and make certain your proposal, or the proposal you champion, is able to overcome the objections raised. Before writing your paper, please complete the required reading and answer the questions that must be submitted with your essay.

Required Reading
Editor's Comment: The proper citation for the Required Reading
portions of this essay contest could not be located at the time of printing. Apparently an excerpt From British Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech in Brighton, England on October 2, 2001, and material from the Congressional Quarterly Researcher in 1992 were part of the required reading. The following claims to be an adaptation of “Issue” written by Charles Clark. Unfortunately no information re: this gentleman could be verified. [A] 17-year-old begins his day in West Bend, Wisconsin at 7:30 a.m. with the usual classes in American literature, government and math. By midmorning [he] joins eleven other selected students in the school’s graphics lab, where he learns the fundamentals of offset printing and photographicplate making. At noon, he reports for work at Serigraph Inc., a local printing firm, where, unlike most employees, he is guaranteed a broad exposure to all aspects of company operations. By 3 p.m. he’s free for the day. “I’m not one who looks forward to going to school,” says the former B and

59

C student, who says he’s now making A’s and B’s. “But I like this because I don’t have to spend four hours a night on homework.” This student’s schedule still leaves time to be with friends, go to football games and participate on the swim team. In two years, he will receive a certificate from the state attesting to his high school graduation and his job training. He will then be a likely candidate for a full-time job at the printing firm, and he will have a range of other educational options from technical school to a four-year college. “The on-the-job training is the main advantage, and I get paid,” he says, “And it leaves me a step ahead of the guys coming out of a high school because I can run a one-color press.” … Eight youth apprenticeship bills were introduced in the last session of the 102nd Congress in 1992. “People are coming to see it’s a very attractive training scheme—to learn by doing,” said Robert W. Glover, an authority on apprenticeships at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. “It combines earning and learning—and both of these features are attractive to school-weary youth.” Building better futures also cultivates maturity in young people, apprenticeship advocates say. “Apprenticeship has always done more than teach a specific trade,” writes Cornell University human development Professor Stephen Hamilton. “Learning to work means learning to be an adult.” The ascent of youth apprenticeship up the policy agenda stems from a confluence of trends in income growth, global economic competition and educational theory. It also reflects concern in business, government and academia about the perilous and growing mismatch between the future demands of the workplace and the quality of the nation’s up-and-coming workers. “Most of the kids coming out of high school have relatively low problemsolving skills,” said Paul Whitley, vice president of Tyson Foods, Inc. in Russellville, Arkansas … “They have poor math skills, poor reading skills and poor communication skills. We’re on a collision course as the labor market shrinks and the need for more and better skills increases.”

60

“In our country, for the 80 percent who do not attend or may not complete college, there is no defined path to a job or career,” observed Carl C. Perkins, a former Kentucky congressman during July hearings on his School to Work Transition and Skill Standards Development Act. There is “only a hodgepodge of want ads, dead-end jobs and career counseling with no link to the job market or needs of employers.” The lack of preparedness among non-college-bound youth has been forcefully documented. Between 1977 and 1992, economists say the earnings gap between professionals and skilled workers widened from 2 percent to 37 percent, and the gap between professionals and clerical workers increased from 47 to 86 percent. The General Accounting Office estimates that about 9 million of the nation’s 33 million 16-to-24-year-olds lack the skills needed for entry-level jobs. During this period of blue-collar economic decline, the skills in demand have also become highly technical. “It hasn’t been all that long since a kid could drop out of school and find a job as a mechanic,” said a Rockbridge County, Virginia math teacher involved with new programs to link school with work. “But now you can’t even balance a tire without knowing how to work a computer.” What’s more, the changing workplace does not bode well even for collegeeducated job seekers of the future unless they have technical training. By the year 2000 the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted, only 30 percent of jobs in America would require a college education. “Our front-line workers…may be the least skilled among those of all the major industrial countries,” assert labor specialists Ray Marshall and Marc Tucker in a new book, Thinking for a Living: Work, Skills and the Future of the American Economy. In advocating apprenticeships and other education and training reforms, they argue that trade competitors such as Germany and Japan will force U.S. industry to invest more in “human-resource capital,” tapping the skills of the rank and file. Similar thinking was apparent in an influential 1990 study, America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages, in which a commission of executives, labor leaders and former Labor secretaries laid out a plan to create a “highperformance work force.” To restore economic growth, they proposed “mobilizing our most vital asset, the skills of our people—not just the 30 percent who will graduate from college—but the front-line workers, the

61

people who serve as bank tellers, farm workers…data-entry operators, laborers and factory workers.” The push for apprenticeships comes at a time when educators are emphasizing contextual learning, which stresses the practical and concrete over the theoretical. “The trend now in pedagogy is to push applied education, which reaches more people and in which people learn better,” says Dale Hudeleson, information director of the American Vocational Association in Alexandria, Virginia. The modern vision of youth apprenticeship is broader than the traditional apprenticeships associated mainly with construction and metalworking crafts. Drawing inspiration from successful apprentice programs in Germany and other European countries, the concept includes apprenticeships in health care, financial services, culinary arts and childcare are as well as in government and nonprofit organizations. At its heart, [former] Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia said when introducing a youth apprenticeship bill in 1991, the program should require: “certifiable skills, involve employers as direct participants with a stake in the individual students’ academic and skills training achievement and be an integral part of the school curriculum, available to all students, not an add-on or adjunct program, and [should carry] prestige in school and community.” “Apprenticeships can’t be like college or vocational school,” says M. Blouke Carus, a Peru, Illinois, businessman. “They must be outcome-based like a chef’s school. When you finish you must be able to bake a muffin, not just say that you completed 1,000 hours of muffin training.” Though noble intentions permeate the apprenticeship movement, it meets skepticism from unions, who worry about undercutting their decades-old apprentice program for older workers. Another question mark is the commitment of employers, who profess an interest in education but spend far less on long-term training than their overseas rivals. But to its boosters, youth apprenticeship seems the ideal way to motivate aimless young people while offering businesses an invaluable resource: a long-term supply of employees with more up-to-date skills than those taught in traditional vocational education.

62

“The Germans have a saying that if you’re trained in something, it makes you easier to retrain,” notes the University of Texas’ Glover, “Right now, our kids in high school don’t see a connection between what they’re doing in school and what happens afterward. We have to make that connection.” Consider: Are high school students too young to commit? “This friend of mine…had a friend who made $50,000 her first year [working] in physical therapy,” an Arkansas mother told an interviewer discussing apprenticeships. “Well, that’s what my daughter wants to do now. Three weeks ago, it was a graphic artist. And before that she’s marrying a millionaire and moving to Beverly Hills.” Adolescents are known for indecision about their goals in life. And what sticks in the craw of any students and parents pondering apprenticeship is the fear that committing oneself at age 16 to a vocational track means giving up a chance for economic and social mobility. Unions The following is a quote from Markley Roberts, assistant director of economic research and development at the AFL-CIO: “We support the efforts to facilitate the transition from school to work, however, we oppose efforts to undercut child labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act under the guise of promoting youth apprentice programs.” However, the most vocal resistance to the youth apprenticeship movement centers not on the goals or methods of the program but on the use of the name. Many union and state government officials argue that the word apprentice should be reserved for the decades-old registered apprentice program, which is strictly defined by federal and state regulations to refer to the 43,000 highly structured, multi-year training programs that have been negotiated around the country in collective-bargaining agreements. “The rush to embrace apprenticeship…is leading to efforts that could undermine the very pillars of its value,” warns Barbara Green, one-time chairwoman of the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship and senior vice president of the Greater New York Hospital Association. “No one questions the motives or intentions of the youth apprenticeship advocates, but loose application of the term could undermine confidence in one of the few effective training strategies we have in this country.” Registered apprentices can apply to 800 apprenticeable occupations— primarily in construction and metalworking trades. There are currently

63

about 300,000 apprentices nationwide, with an average age of 29. Their program requires 2,000 hours of on-the-job training supervised by a journey-level worker as well as 240 hours of related classroom time, under rules last updated in 1977. A registered apprenticeship typically lasts three to five years. The Federal Committee on Apprenticeship, a labor, employer and educator group that advises the Labor Department emphasizes the distinction between registered and youth apprenticeships. In a January statement, the committee said that a registered apprenticeship “(a) combines supervised, structured, on-the-job training with related theoretical instruction and (b) is sponsored by employers or labor/management groups that have the ability to hire and train in a work environment.” Union spokesmen add that in a registered apprenticeship, state and federal regulations determine the type and amount of related instruction, the manner of supervision, and appropriate ratios of apprentices to journey persons, the selection process for apprentices, recruitment procedures, wage progression and safety procedures. In a youth apprenticeship, by contrast, students begin at age 16 rather than in their 20s; there are a variety of possible outcomes; academic and workrelated competencies are integrated into the regular high school program; and youth apprenticeship would not, in itself, lead to a journey worker certification. “Every high school youngster with a part-time job is not a youth apprentice,” observes Donald Grabowski, president of the National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors in Albany, N.Y. “There is concern among state officials that if youngsters get involved with programs labeled apprentice and then realize that there is a state and federal program, they will ask for [the same] credential certificate. No one to our knowledge is opposed to youth apprenticeships, but people must realize what’s involved. It must be a meaningful experience that leads somewhere, not just to a warm feeling all over.” Youth apprenticeship boosters originally began by using the phrase schoolto-work programs and avoided using the Big-A apprenticeship, according to James Van Erden, administrator of the Labor Department’s Office of Work-Based Learning…

64

Laurence Steinberg, a psychologist at Philadelphia’s Tempe University who has written widely on teenagers’ employment issues, is wary of using the label youth apprenticeship for a smorgasbord of programs without differentiating between good ones and bad ones that exploit kids. “If you began giving a work-study credit for wrapping hamburgers,” he says, “it would only be a short cry from having McDonald’s call it a ‘restaurant apprenticeship.’” Employers “The primary concern of more than 80 percent of employers is finding workers with a good work ethic and appropriate social behavior—reliable, a good attitude, a pleasant appearance, a good personality,” noted the 1990 America’s Choice report prepared under the chairmanship of a key Clinton adviser, Ira Magaziner. The problem presented by youth apprenticeship, notes youth-employment specialist Samuel Halperin, study director of the W.T. Grant Foundation in Washington, D.C., is that many U.S. firms resist a three-or-four-year hiring commitment and prefer college graduates because they don’t believe high school graduates are mature. What’s more, the well-publicized training programs at such firms as Xerox Corp., General Electric Co., Motorola Inc. and American Express Co., are not emulated at most companies. Few firms are actively upgrading their work forces, preferring to dumb-down tasks and hire less costly part-timers, analysts note. As Robert J. Massey, an Arlington, Virginia consultant points out, investment in plant and equipment shows up on the account books as a positive asset, but training expenses are merely a debit.… From a manager’s point of view, youth apprentices might add to training costs because participants are guaranteed a rotation through different parts of the company and would hence be relieved of certain demands for productivity. “There is a conflict between the worker role and the learner role,” says Hamilton. “There’s no formula for working it out.” A further complication, notes Quint Rahberger, Oregon’s apprenticeship and training administrator, is that “employers in this litigious society are wary of violating child labor laws, hazardous-work orders” and insurance regulations; issues that designers of a national apprenticeship initiative would have to tackle.

65

Despite such obstacles, youth apprenticeship advocates are busy promoting their concept in the business community. “Companies shouldn’t be passive advisers and think that now that they’ve sent computers into the schools they’ve done their job,” says James D. Van Erden, administrator of the Labor Department’s Office of Work-Based Learning. “Employer endorsement is the key to the whole thing,” says Glover, A national initiative would require “industry wide structural supports,” he says, perhaps something akin to Germany’s private craft and trade “chambers,” business groups that administer apprentice programs and socialize training costs by collecting dues from all companies whether or not they participate in training. “Currently, there aren’t many jobs set up for apprenticeable skills,” observes Anthony P. Carnevale, chief economist for the American Society for Training and Development. “We have to build up the demand side because it’s the job that creates the need for training, not the apprenticeship that creates the job.” Because many youth apprenticeships are envisioned in service industries such as health care and insurance, notes Garrison J. Moore, director of research and development at the National Alliance of Business, “there is a cultural barrier. The companies say, “We’re white-collar; [apprenticeship is] blue collar.’” Companies also have the attitude that their managers are so special that they have to customize them, Moore says. His group seeks to change that culture and create industry apprenticeship standards that would encourage “portability and transferability” among companies. Many companies are having success at tapping into the skills of young students, Moore adds, even though they might not call it apprenticeship. At the Kroger grocery chain, for example, high school students who were recruited as baggers have gone on to management slots, and at Ross clothing stores, even the lowest-level employees are “cross-trained” so that a backroom clerk can fill in helping customers. Not all employers are temperamentally suited to supervise apprentices. As Fairfax County’s Ellen Carlos points out, “youth apprentices need supportive parents and employer sponsors who will give them that time off for beach week, who know that junior proms are important enough to allow that afternoon off to get fit for a tux.”

66

In one of the most influential proposals on apprenticeships, prepared for the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, scholars Robert I. Lerman of American University and Hillard Pouncy of Swarthmore College wrote: “Washington’s role is chiefly to act as a catalyst for efforts by local school systems and business to harmonize their curricula, job training and hiring practices. Ultimately, the purpose of these effort is to gain national credibility for apprentices as highly trained workers whose skills are occupationally specific, portable enough to be valuable for a variety of employers and critical for taking effective advantage of additional training.” In an era of reluctance to create new federal bureaucracies, Lerman and Pouncy, along with Senator Nunn, have proposed creating a National Youth Apprenticeship Institute. The public-private partnership would be directed by representatives of business, labor and education and clearly differentiated from federal jobs programs targeted at the disadvantaged. The institute would specify skills required to enter and succeed in an occupation, develop a system for certifying trainers and apprentices and monitor the quality of work-site training. “If youth apprenticeship is to be a national program, available to all, there has to be a federal role,” says Hilary Pennington, president of Jobs for the Future. “The goal would be to ensure maximum mobility and opportunity and regulate standards of quality. …What is not thought through is the federal role as a catalyst for creating private-sector structures like Europe’s trade and craft chambers,” she says. Pennington also would step up the federal role in promoting nationally recognized standards to assess the skills represented by a completed apprenticeship. “But each industry would have to set its own standards,” she adds. “Glover agrees that government is needed to create an “infrastructure” for apprenticeship, but he emphasizes that industry would have to be the main player, creating an ongoing 'feedback system' that would synchronize schools and work sites. The degree of federal involvement “is a sticky issue,” he says. “The more we try to structure and regulate the program, the less attractive it is to employers. The more we try to attract employers, the less leverage we have in its structure. “Any federal apprenticeship effort should spell out rules and set up the system and help develop standards so that [an apprenticeship] can travel, like a college degree,” says William H. Kolber, president of the National

67

Alliance of Business. “But the real work will be done school by school, company by company, community by community. The government establishes a general pattern, but each state goes its own way.” Options Linking School With Work Youth apprenticeships are among an array of programs designed to help high school students make the transition from school to work. What characterizes apprenticeship is on-the-job training administered by a professional, the awarding of a standardized certificate and the hope that it would be an option for all students, not just special cases. Other alternatives for those who don’t attend a four-year college include the following: Vocational Education: Created in the 19th century, high school Voc. Ed. Programs have traditionally offered all students such practical courses as typing, home economics and shop. For a select group of students, they offer hands-on training in technical skills such as auto repair and mechanical drawing. Tech Prep: Short for technical preparation (also called “2+2”), this program links two years of high school with two years of community college or technical-school study focusing on math, science, computers and technologies. Tech prep offers an associate degree and prepares students for specific occupations in such broad areas as computers or engineering. A tech prep grant program was formalized under the 1990 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act Amendments. Cooperative Education: A longstanding approach that alternates study with work. High school students receive credit for their work hours and often receive only the minimum academic instruction needed for a high school diploma. Community Colleges: Primarily open-enrollment local colleges that offer adult and vocational education and two-year degrees. Trade Schools: For-profit schools that offer practical instruction in such fields as hair styling, computers, dental technology and trucking. Career Academies: Over the past two decades, corporations in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles and elsewhere have sponsored simulated work environments, a “school within a school,” in such fields as

68

health, insurance and finance. Employers help design the curriculum and often provide students with summer jobs. Focused Schools: Schools identified by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education for their success in integrating academic and vocational studies to create a special identity. Examples are Aviation High School, the High School of Fashion Industries and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. School-Based Enterprise: Students provide services or produce goods in such enterprises as school restaurants, construction projects, farms, childcare centers, auto repair shops or production of school yearbooks or campus newspapers. Mentoring: Corporation-sponsored one-to-one relationships between an older employee and a part-time worker still in high school. Mentors are often volunteer employees or retirees. Mentoring takes place at school or at the workplace. Alternative Schools: Known for their individualized instruction and flexible scheduling, these experimental schools integrate remedial reading, writing and math instruction into all subjects, providing work/study options at the students’ own pace. They also offer personal and career counseling, day care, family education and referrals to other agency services. Youth Community Service: Led by Minnesota in 1987, several states are appropriating money to allow recent high school graduates or dropouts to work full time in such areas as conservation, recreation and historic preservation. There is [some] interest in federal renewal of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps. Job Corps: Dropouts or poorly prepared students in limited numbers are eligible for a residential training, counseling and remedial education program under the Jobs Corps, funded under the federal Job Training Partnership Act. Contextual Learning Interest in youth apprenticeship has coincided with a re-examination of the benefits of vocational education. Historically, writes Paul E. Barton, director of the Policy Information Center of the Educational Testing

69

Service (ETS) there was a “wall between academic/general and vocational education.” There was a tendency among vocational advocates not to see value in academics that do not have obvious application and a belief that their students would not sit still for academic course work. “On the academic side,” Barton writes, “there has been a tendency to belittle vocational education as being second-class, or to believe this was not the best way to prepare for employment.” But nowadays, education specialists increasingly emphasize the value of practical—as opposed to theoretical—instruction that is applied in a concrete situation. “Contextual education,” explains Columbia University Teachers College Professor Sue E. Berryman, is effective because it replicates the learning process of the young child, “who is the most spectacular learner.” In the early years of a human life, she writes, “(1) learning takes place in context. Children learn during their first five years in the midst of meaningful, ongoing activities and receive immediate feedback on the success of their actions; (2) Parents and friends serve as models for imitative learning and provide structure to and connections between their experiences; (3) Learning is functional. Concepts and tools are acquired as tools to solve problems; (4) The need for and purpose of the learning are explicitly stated for the child.” In an apprenticeship or any school environment more oriented toward the work world, such theory would have English students writing practice business letters instead of book reports on The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and students of auto mechanics would stay literate in the increasingly technical language of manufacturers’ parts manuals. Apprentice programs that were well integrated into school curriculums, advocates argue, would turn out students far better prepared for the everchanging job market than students in traditional vocational education, where 60 percent of the participants “end up in jobs that have nothing to do with the training they receive in high schools,” assert Lerman and Pouncy. New emphasis on contextual learning might also motivate students to take their studies more seriously. “Most kids think [academic] educational methods are torture devices invented by teachers,” says Cornell’s Hamilton, “And they get that idea because they can see that no one in the workplace is doing these things.” Concrete student accomplishments in high school

70

might, in turn, prompt employers to take high school job applicants more seriously, asking to see transcripts, for example, which currently they seldom do. “Most employers look at the high school diploma as evidence of staying power, not of academic achievement,” says the America’s Choice report. “They realized long ago that it is possible to graduate from high school in this country and still be functionally illiterate. As a result, the non-collegebound know that their performance in high school is likely to have little or no bearing on the type of employment they manage to find.” Such a change in school curricula would have to be accompanied by new efforts by school guidance counselors to understand and inform students of the realities of the current job market. … “Higher education is doing a great job of selling college,” says Oregon’s Rahberger. “And in college prep, there are catalogs, and everyone understands the criteria.” But if guidance counselors could be asked to compare college prep and practical, job-related counseling, “the question would be, which gives you more bang for your buck?” Demonstration Projects Youth apprenticeship has clearly moved form the talk to the action stage. …In Maine, apprenticeship pilot projects [were introduced] in the fall of 1992 in three schools under the supervision of Maine Technical College and state agencies. Maine’s former governor, John R. McKernan Jr., got the inspiration for the program after watching apprentices at work in Germany and Denmark. In Arkansas in 1992 one of the first state-funded apprentice programs placed 246 apprentices at 70 companies. One component of the program was a five-year apprenticeship for high school juniors offered by the Metalworking Connection, a consortium of 67 small fabricating companies organized at Henderson State University. It was modeled on a program in Italy and was funded by sales tax and a portion of the Arkansas corporate income tax. Oregon and Wisconsin were the first states to model a youth apprentice program on the recommendations of the America’s Choice report. Oregon’s program is part of a comprehensive education-reform law. Beginning in the fall of 1992, 100 paid slots at six schools were offered to high school juniors for a two-year period and matched with registered training agents at

71

companies around the state. The Wisconsin program, established after state officials looked at Germany’s vocational education program, is part of a larger “School-to-Work Initiative” passed by the Legislature that provided funds for 10th grade “gateway assessment,” tech prep and postsecondary enrollment options. Business groups have several pilot apprentice programs up and running. Since 1990, the National Alliance of Business has presided over the Quality Connection Consortium, collaboration with BankAmerica, San Francisco’s Mission High School, Sears, Roebuck & Co., and the DuPage County (Illinois) Area Occupational Education System. It is one of six of demonstration projects to receive early grants from the Labor Department. Also since 1990, Jobs for the Future has been operating a foundationsupported National Youth Apprenticeship Initiative at 10 sites, giving high school students apprenticeships in manufacturing, office technology and health care. Similar foundation grants have been awarded under the umbrella of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, as part of its general efforts to promote career-oriented education over past programs that seemed merely to explore a student’s lifestyle, talents and interests. Finally, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a nonprofit organization called Next Innovations launched a pilot apprentice program that enables 18-to-24year-olds to work in nonprofit community development. Faced with a shortage of funds for registered-apprentice programs, many labor officials worry that youth apprenticeships might exploit cheap labor and aid non-union firms in recruiting. But some of their anxiety is dissipating. In the spring of 1992 the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship stated, “the nation should develop a comprehensive, seamless youth training program and education system that responds to needs of all industries and all young people.”

72

Questions to be answered after the required reading has been completed: 1. Discover and write a two-line description of four programs in your community that currently operate on the school-to-work philosophy. 2. As above only substitute “state” for “local” programs. 3. Discover and write a paragraph or two describing two examples of federal legislation that have been either proposed or enacted during the Clinton administration. 4. Businesses often make partnerships with schools to introduce students to the workplace. Discuss a situation like this in your community. (Hint: Contact your local Chamber of Commerce.) 5. What is meant by “outcome-based” in the illustration below? “Apprenticeships must be outcome-based like a cosmetology school. When you finish you must be able to cut hair, not just say you completed 1,000 hours of training.” Write a similar illustration of your own. 6. From the reading, give three reasons the AFL-CIO might be opposed to youth development programs. 7. From the reading, give 3 reasons employers might be opposed to youth apprenticeship programs. 8. In the reading, Aviation High School, High School of Fashion Industries and the High School for Agriculture Sciences were mentioned. Research on the Internet and describe the program at one of these schools or another at another school you discover through the National Center For Research in Vocational Education. 9. What are the differences between contextual learning, applied learning, community-based learning and experiential learning? 10. In the required reading the federal government’s role was described in one word. What was that word?

73

Participants
Medicine Lodge High School Medicine Lodge, Kansas Teacher: Michael Hubka
Kaysi Booth Bonnie Hauser Andrea Sorg Samantha Ricke Jennifer Marsh Ashley Pierce Cole Hauser Matt Forsyth Austin Davis Wanda Arnett Heather Nittle JessicaWesley Nick Moore Vickey Lackey Stephanie Tritt Liz Graham

Landon Cunningham

Kelli Klausmeyer

Taylor Ridge High School Rockridge, Illinois Teacher: Barbara Downey Jessica Lehr Casey Moore Travis Dean Jessica Cook

Matt Fuhr Laura Townley Amanda Jo Stewart Mindy Petersen Cassandra Gulley Rachel Dusenberry Robert Drayer Josh Fowler 74 Mae MarieFreyermuth

Kinsley High School Kinsley, Kansas Teacher: Galen Boehme, PhD Kristen Herrmann Travis Lo Vette Mitch Schinstock Brianna Medina

Chris Stone Lindsey VanNahmen Alisha Herrmann Joni Habiger

Patricia Rodriguez Casey McAvoy Garett Schmidt Jamie Maledon

Salem High School Salem, Missouri Teacher: John Hendricks Maggie Rasor Holly Frillman Julie Inman Ashley Nivens Cori Davidson

Amanda Harlow Amanda Stratton Kim Grauf

Lori Brown Jason Wethy Jerad Howard Ross Day Kevin Pyles Tasha Adamick Sara Jessen Kimberly Pratt Lauren Sankovitch Mary Onawa Meier Jamie Faulkner Revay Crocker Josh Jones 75

76

More About the Harry Singer Foundation

The Harry Singer Foundation is a national non-profit 501(c) 3 private operating foundation (IRC: 4942 j 3) located in Carmel, California whose purpose is to promote responsibility and involve people more fully in public policy and their communities. It was founded in 1987. It actively conducts programs, and is not a grant-making foundation. The Foundation invites participants of all ages and countries to participate in its programs but has been concentrating on young people because they are open and eager to learn, are not saddled with a myriad of other social responsibilities, (like raising a family and making their own living), and they will be around the longest and therefore have the best opportunity to make their projects work. They are ideal experimenters because time is on their side. Participation on our programs is through the Internet. We have been operating our programs on the Internet since the fall of 1994—ancient history in light of the Internet's growth since those early days. You may read this information and view our programs at www.singerfoundation.org . We bring people together to network at our headquarters in Carmel, California. When participants come up with ideas, HSF provides the opportunity to put to the test, those ideas that garner the most enthusiastic

77

response. We do this via Pilot Projects and interacting with grant-making entities and far-sighted businesses. Most businesses rightly have more than altruistic motives. They are concerned about maintaining a stable and growth-oriented economy as well as finding responsible future employees. Our projects inadvertently foster these aims as well as philanthropic goals. Although HSF is an educational foundation it realizes it is not enough to think, write and talk about problems. HSF shows what ordinary people are capable of achieving. The objective is to find out what works within a desired framework. We know a pilot project has been successfully launched when it attracts enthusiastic volunteers that we call Champions. Those familiar with the Suzuki method of teaching music will understand when we analogize to the child begging the mother to turn over the child-sized violin she is playing. Champions are those whose enthusiasm leads them to volunteer to take over a pilot project that strikes their fancy. In the process they release their own unique pent up creativity while the Foundation continues to support them in their efforts to expand the project. Steve Platt, the Champion of Singer Kids4Kids is one example. We also offer materials online, free of charge, which can be printed and used in the classroom or for individual education or research. The Workbook section of the HSF web site features data to encourage logical thinking and attention to the unintended consequences that often accompany government or personal solutions to perceived problems. HSF believes that society has encouraged technology and management while neglecting principles. We need to consider not only can we do, but should we do. To that end you will find an introduction to the seldom taught subject of logic in this section along with frequently updated ethical dilemmas. The Harry Singer Foundation mission is to prepare participants for a future where there may be less government and a weaker safety net. Such a future would require greater individual character, responsibility and knowledge. There may be a need for responsible people able to care for themselves and their less fortunate neighbors. Before one can either reflect or help others, one must survive. HSF has archived the thoughts of teens over a twenty year period in the Teens Speak Out and the Archived by State forums as well as in the published books that resulted from 41 of the 46 essay contests it conducted between 1988 and

78

2007. Although many of these teen authors now are adults with children of their own, their reflections are relevant to today's youth who must learn to make successful personal and social choices regarding their own ideology and their careers. They too must withstand the peer pressure of gangs, violence, irresponsible sex and addictive substances. People change but the social issues remain.

We invite you to explore our web site at www.singerfoundation.org. We look forward to your comments and participation and will be happy to provide additional information or respond to any questions you might have. The Harry Singer Foundation Board of Directors has promoted programs that provide information and teach people how to think, but not what to think, until they have looked at more than one side of any question. After research and analysis, program participants are expected to form their own opinions. Advisory Board members are championing programs that often take participants into their communities to interact outside an academic setting. We invite you to browse our pilot projects and hope that you may be moved to Champion one of these projects in your own community. Together we believe we can make the United States, and the world, a stronger and better place to live, for this generation and generations to come.

79

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful