POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Readers! Quick quiz. What comes to mind when you hear the word “apprenticeship?”
If you are not entirely clear about apprenticeship as a job training program nor about its history in the U.S. and elsewhere, you have lots of company.
That’s why you and yours are invited to attend School District 25’s second annual Apprenticeship-Plus Night, Thursday, Nov. 30 at the Pocatello High School Commons area from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. More than 25 employers and organizations will be at the event, and will be happy to share information, experiences, and guidance with students, families and community members.
Pocatello High’s new and inviting Commons area will be set up with tables, booklets, swag and most importantly, people who can describe the apprenticeship opportunities they offer for everything from aspiring electricians and plumbers to school teachers. Visitors can walk among the tables, talk to folks, pick up news and documents and even enjoy a snack prepared by Pocatello High’s culinary arts training program.
Though apprenticeship is a primary focus of the evening, it is called Apprenticeship-Plus Night because the offerings and opportunities are broader and more varied than apprenticeships alone.
In its simplest terms, apprenticeship programs allow a new or retrained individual to “earn while you learn” a skill or trade or job. When asked what they would want people to know about apprenticeships, SD 25 college career advisors Jen Newsom and Jessica Woodland didn’t hesitate. They agreed that apprenticeships are “great for workers and students who are not entirely interested in the traditional lecture- / lab-based college route. It is hands-on and active; apprentices are busy and in the workforce.”
Angela Jex, college career advisor at Pocatello High School, has been recruiting participating programs and employers. She said the timing was intentional.
“Students and families have just been together for Thanksgiving, we’re heading into the holidays and the end of the calendar year. It’s a time of self-reflection and thought. We hope folks are open to considering options, a change, or are looking for opportunities. That’s what Apprenticeship-Plus Night offers,” Jex said.
The apprenticeship system goes back hundreds of years to feudal Europe, but it has blossomed since the middle of the twentieth century to include training for an entire array of skilled trades as well as the fine crafts/artisan movement (ceramics, metalsmithing, jewelry making, and more). College career advisor Alice Rowe is enthusiastic about the experiential learning aspect of apprenticeship. Rowe says that the benefits of apprenticeship learning are that you “earn as you go, you get training from masters and experts, there is minimal cost to you, and it really appeals to students and people who do best when they can see their learning applied.” It is a process by which an apprentice works, learns, and earns.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were 27,000 registered apprenticeship programs in the United States in fiscal year 2021. Wrap your head around that: 27,000! There are training and learning opportunities for 27,000 unique and discrete jobs. It is incredible – and motivating. Those programs are supporting more than 600,000 active American apprentices. Idaho’s numbers are small in comparison, but our employers and state government recognize the need for well-trained employees to fill in-demand jobs. Career technical education, in addition to apprenticeships, are generously supported through the state of Idaho scholarship and workforce training programs. The college career advisors at each high school can provide more information about state monies that fund job training and workforce development.
Among the participants will be Idaho State University’s apprenticeship program in its Continuing Education and Workforce Training division, local car dealers, Eastern Idaho Electrical JATC program (Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, right in town), the school district, branches of the military (the ultimate learn while you learn experience), and Melaleuca of Idaho Falls.
The U.S. Department of Labor has a dedicated office for apprenticeship training – the Office of Apprenticeship (OA), which describes the U.S. system of registered apprenticeships and is a rich resource of information. Click HERE to learn more.