It provides high school students with apprenticeships at their local employers.
Baltimore, Md (KM). A program that began in Frederick and Washington Counties as a pilot is going statewide. The Maryland State Department of Education says the Apprenticeship Maryland Program will provide high school students with paid, on-the-job experience with local employers, and one-on-one mentoring with industry professionals.
“It sounds old fashioned to some people, but really it’s not. It’s really cutting edge,’ says Bill Reinhard, MSDE spokesman. “It looks at a lot of manufacturing businesses, technology businesses; engineering and math involved in all this.”
The Department says the AMP was piloted in Frederick and Washington Counties for the past two years. Students who enrolled in this program were provided with an opportunity to “earn and learn,” while at the same time securing the credits they needed for graduation as well as industry-wide credentials. “They worked with some local businesses and paired them up with students interested in that sort of career to see if it would work with modern high school to see if things would take off and see if we could scale in some way to a statewide program,and it worked quite well,” Reinhard says.
Even though the students were in career-specific programs, they were not locked into that profession. Reinhard says they could change their minds. “You work with the company. You continue to get your high school diploma. You earn a little bit of money and you’re prepared for your next step. It might be additional schooling after you leave. It might be going right into the workforce. It might even be going on to college. None of this really precludes that, but it gives students some real options,” he says.
In addition to work-place learning, related classroom instruction and mentoring, MSDE says students are encouraged to further their education by taking STEM courses, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Reinhard says the state will be working with local school systems to set up the AMP in communities across Maryland. “You have to work with the manufacturers and businesses in your community to get this to happen. But in the end, everybody’s been satisfied with what we’ve done so far. And our Career and Technology Education staff here are working with local school systems to expand it,” he says.
He says any student whose interested in this program should consult with the guidance counselor.
By Kevin McManus