Press Release, Maryland Department of Labor and Licensing
Former Washington County Youth Apprentice Named First Ambassador
BALTIMORE (Dec. 20, 2018) – Maryland Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz has announced the launch of the Maryland Youth Apprenticeship Ambassador Program, a program that raises awareness of and encourages participation in the Apprenticeship Maryland Program – Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program.
Casey Kelly, former youth apprentice and current junior analyst for Washington County-based Beacon Grace, was named the state’s first youth apprenticeship ambassador. The announcement was made at the Frederick County Public School’s Second Annual Youth Apprenticeship Summit, an informational event that introduced FCPS students to apprenticeship employers and provided opportunities for career development.
“Youth apprenticeship connects employers with the talent of the future, and gives apprentices a head start in developing career skills and a professional network,” said Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. “The Maryland Youth Apprenticeship Ambassador Program empowers ambassadors to do what comes naturally to them: raise awareness about youth apprenticeship and encourage students and businesses to engage in apprenticeship opportunities. With our ambassadors’ help, we will continue growing this important program throughout the state.”
Casey Kelly, the state’s first youth ambassador, joined the youth apprenticeship program through the Washington County Public Schools last January. While finishing his senior year of high school, Kelly was hired by Beacon Grace as a junior analyst apprentice.
“The youth apprenticeship program prepared me for a career by giving me a foot in the door with a local business, Beacon Grace,” Kelly said. “When applying for the program, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I saw it as an opportunity that would give me great work experience and I’d be able to get paid while doing it. The program gave me the chance to show off my skills and willingness to learn, so much so that I was offered a full-time position upon completion of the youth apprenticeship program.”
Kelly’s eagerness to learn, positive attitude, and ability were some of the many reasons Beacon Grace hired him full-time upon completion of his apprenticeship – and are the very reasons he was selected as Maryland’s first ambassador. Now, in his role at the growing supply chain consulting company, Kelly conducts research, manages projects, and helps market the company’s services to local businesses.
“Casey has been an advocate of youth apprenticeship from the start,” said Secretary Schulz. “His infectious enthusiasm and genuine love for apprenticeship make him the perfect ambassador for the program. We are proud to partner with Casey as we continue growing youth apprenticeship across all of Maryland.”
The Apprenticeship Maryland Program was founded in 2015 as a pilot in Frederick and Washington counties. With apprenticeable occupations in in-demand industries, students gain valuable work experience in growing fields. Since its launch, the program has grown by 245 percent in the number of participating youth apprentices and 292 percent growth in the number of participating businesses, and is now offered in four counties – Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, and Washington – with plans to expand statewide.
Similar to the successful Apprenticeship Ambassador Program for the state’s registered apprenticeship program, youth apprenticeship ambassadors raise awareness about youth apprenticeship as Maryland’s premiere workforce solution, advance and support outreach activities and events, and help drive stakeholders to action.
“I wanted to become a youth apprenticeship ambassador because I have experienced how great of an opportunity this was and wanted to educate everyone on the benefits of participating,” Kelly said. “Youth apprenticeship is a benefit to the kids, the businesses, and the community.”
Youth apprenticeship is open to all industries, with a priority on high-growth career fields such as those in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and manufacturing.
For more information about the youth apprenticeship program or the Maryland Youth Apprenticeship Ambassador Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.