As part of National Apprenticeship Week, from November 13 to 19, the United States is turning the spotlight on apprenticeships as a vital tool in building a skilled workforce. This annual event underscores the significant role apprenticeships play in equipping individuals with workplace experience and skills highly valued by employers.

In Maryland, the Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP) exemplifies this initiative. Established in 2015, AMP is a collaborative effort involving the Maryland Department of Labor, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the Maryland Department of Commerce, various county public school systems, and local educational and business partners. This program is a testament to the state’s commitment to integrating academic learning with practical work experience.

A notable achievement in this domain is the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) recent approval by the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council (MATC) to employ students as apprentices. This approval, granted in January 2023, underscores CCPS’ dedication to fostering work-based learning experiences for students.

During this school year, CCPS has successfully placed eight out of 11 approved student apprentices within the school system. These high school seniors have commenced their apprenticeships in various departments, signifying the start of their journey toward paid, work-based learning. The placements are as follows:

  • Mechelle Johnson-Reeves, a St. Charles High School senior, works part-time in the Career and Technical Education Department and the Communications Department.
  • Gabrielle Thompson, a North Point High School senior, has joined the Communications Department.
  • Taylor Goines, a senior at St. Charles, is now part of the Human Resources Department.
  • In the Office Of Teaching and Learning at Barnhart Elementary School, Gabrielle Garrett and Evelyn Gomez Flores, seniors at Thomas Stone and Maurice J. McDonough High Schools, respectively, have been placed.
  • Thomas Willis, a senior at St. Charles, is contributing to the Technology Department at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School.
  • DeJuan Freeman and Justin Patterson, seniors at Henry E. Lackey and St. Charles High Schools, are working with the Department of Transportation.
  • Kierra Dodson, Z’niyah Gomez, and Tommie Morris, seniors at La Plata, McDonough, and North Point High Schools, respectively, have been placed with Stella’s Girls.

The Superintendent of Schools, Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D., expressed her delight at the progress and dedication of these student apprentices. She highlighted the importance of their transition into the workforce as a critical milestone in their personal and professional development.

National Apprenticeship Week is a powerful reminder of the importance of apprenticeships in bridging the gap between education and employment. It celebrates the opportunities these programs offer, paving the way for students to gain real-world experience while still in school. As these initiatives grow, they promise to enrich the workforce with skilled and experienced individuals ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s job market.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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