At a ceremony held during what was both American Education Week and National Apprenticeship Week, a group of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts students signed commitments to the Apprenticeship Maryland program. These students will be involved in construction-trade apprenticeships, such as plumbing, electrical, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning).

“If they successfully complete the program, this is lifelong,” said Alicia Fales, BCPS supervisor of School to Career Transition in the Office of Career and Technical Education. “This is the start of their careers.”

All but one of the students participating in the Patapsco High signing are in Grade 10; one is in Grade 11. Through the program, Grade 10 students take a class offering them an overview of apprenticeships. In Grade 11, they take courses related to the specific apprenticeship they will complete. This instruction will be offered by BCPS, CCBC (the Community College of Baltimore County) or their employers. Beginning the summer after Grade 11, the students will complete a 450-hour apprenticeship with a registered Youth Apprenticeship provider.

Upon successful completion, they will receive a certificate from the state, and the employers can hire them as second-year apprentices.

“We are still working to build the program,” said Fales. “It is a very creative and individualized program, and, as it grows, we will have opportunities for students to have apprenticeships in some nontraditional fields. Apprenticeships are increasingly important in public education. How many students participate in youth apprenticeships is a data point for federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability.”

The Apprenticeship Maryland program is available in all BCPS high schools. Interested students and employers should talk to the work-based learning coordinators in their schools or contact Alicia Fales at for more information.

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