As sponsor of the first Youth Registered Apprenticeship (YRA) in the state, Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) will soon help provide students an exciting apprenticeship opportunity in technology.
A partnership between JAG-K, the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Topeka Unified School District 501 will create apprenticeships on the KSDE Information Technology team.
JAG-K will serve as the “intermediary sponsor” in the YRA partnership, meaning it will help recruit for and coordinate the program, as well as support participants through academic and technical training aligned with IT occupations.
JAG-K is an evidence-based program which helps students prepare for post-secondary education and employment opportunities. JAG-K programs across the state, serving approximately 4,000 students, reported a graduation rate of 97 percent for the Class of 2020.
“JAG-K is pleased to be part of this significant opportunity for Kansas students,” said JAG-K President and CEO Chuck Knapp. “We appreciate the Department of Commerce and the State Department of Education recognizing the unique position JAG-K holds in preparing students for successful futures.”
A YRA is a work-based learning opportunity that teaches students both academic and workplace skills that can lead to postsecondary education opportunities and careers.
YRA programs are a national initiative, which is overseen in Kansas by the state’s Department of Commerce in hopes to prepare high school students for careers in Kansas’ leading industries. The partnership between JAG-K, KSDE and USD 501 will provide the first such apprenticeship offered in Kansas.
A YRA program allows a student to begin his or her chosen career pathway training while still in high school. Youth apprentices receive paid on-the-job training along with job-related technical instruction that also meets high school graduation requirements.
The youth apprentices work for an employer part-time, between 5 to 18 hours each week, said Stacy Smith, assistant director for KSDE’s Career, Standards and Assessment Services (CSAS) team.
“This is the first such program to be established in Kansas and will usher in the advancement of youth programs designed to support students in earn-and-learn education opportunities connected to the student Individual Plan of Study,” Smith said.
Youth apprentices graduate from high school with skills and valuable work experience in addition to advanced credits in community colleges, technical colleges and adult Registered Apprenticeship programs, according to Kansas Works. Nationally, more than 75% of youth apprentice graduates enroll in a community college, technical college and/or university after graduation.
“We are all in when it comes to preparing students for future work, and these apprenticeships do just that,” Lt. Gov. and Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “We want and need innovative programs like Youth Registered Apprenticeship to provide interesting, worthwhile opportunities for students to earn while they learn important skills to prepare them for the workforce of the future.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 7-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.
The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, Goldstein Charitable Trust, John Deere, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation and Walmart.
To learn more about JAG-K, visit www.jagkansas.org, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.