High school students especially at the junior and senior level are prepping for the next step or chapter of their lives. Youth apprenticeships are often the first thing that comes to mind for both students and parents when a traditional education does not help connect the dots between learning and working. Youth apprenticeships and specifically manufacturing apprenticeships can help connect the dots and close the gap between education and work. GPS Education Partners (GPSEd) offers students the opportunity to take part in a manufacturing youth apprenticeship that correlates with an academic program. This combination allows students hands-on opportunities to explore and learn about their career interests, the importance of community involvement and the development of both hard and soft skills that employers look for.
1. Career Interests
Many high school students choose a career pathway or college major with little experience and knowledge about well-paying careers that may align better to their aptitudes and interests. In a youth apprenticeship, students are introduced to multiple aspects of an industry or job to help broaden their knowledge, this is best delivered on a work-based learning continuum. At GPS Education Partners, manufacturing apprenticeships expose students to different responsibilities of the job and are guided by skilled mentors. This hands-on experience helps students find their career interests and can help them make decisions about their future career goals.
2. Technical Skills
In youth apprenticeships, hard or technical skills are a great part of what students learn. Students are also able to receive hands-on learning and practice with equipment, programs, and other operations that are difficult to effectively teach within a traditional school classroom. GPS Education Partners focuses on connecting classroom learning with the technical skills needed for a job. This experience can set students apart when applying for jobs after high school and boost their work resume.
3. Soft Skills
Soft skills, also known as interpersonal or character skills, are also another area of development that youth apprenticeships can help students learn. Soft skills are often more difficult to learn without real experience and practice. Youth apprenticeships put the student in contact with the employer and other employees in order to develop effective communication, leadership, and ownership skills. Students also develop employability skills as well as leadership and professionalism skills that employers are looking for in their ideal candidates. Students developing these skills are building sustainable futures and have remarkable transformations when they see the rewards of their decision to embark on a youth apprenticeship like the one offered by GPS Education Partners. Time management and flexibility are also a part of a student’s soft skills that they can learn through a manufacturing apprenticeship. An apprenticeship can help students normalize a work schedule and learn to balance work and home life. At GPS Education Partners, these skills differentiate students because they gain leadership skills they can use in and outside school.
4. Importance of Community
Students become a part of their community when they begin the GPS Education Partners Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship program. Unlike traditional youth apprenticeship programs, which GPSEd can also offer, the GPSEd Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship program places students in one of 7 Education Centers located within an area business, but is operated by GPSEd. Students split their day between their academic learning at one of the Education Centers and paid work experiences at almost 70 area manufacturing facilities that are located close to the 45 school districts that participate in this program. At GPS Education Partners, students also participate in community service projects and take on learning activities that help them establish meaningful and personal connections that will install positive citizenship qualities.