AASA Central | AASA Releases Youth Apprenticeship Toolkit
The goal of this AASA youth apprenticeship toolkit is to encourage the creation of school and business partnerships as a viable and expansive pathway to success in school, career and work. This toolkit provides resources for secondary and community college administrators to advocate for and build apprenticeship programs of your own.
youth apprenticeships, apprenticeship, career, work, toolkit
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Apprenticeships are an underutilized educational and workforce strategy with proven value that, more and more, has been successfully implemented by schools around the country.

Currently, middle and high schools focus on preparing students to attend colleges or universities. And yet, for many students, this is not the only path—or even the best path—that they can take. A cultural shift is needed for educators, counselors, parents and students to consider successful models of apprenticeships as a viable and exciting educational option. The goal of this toolkit is encourage the creation of school and business partnerships as another viable and expansive pathway to success in career and work. This kit provides resources for secondary and community college administrators to advocate for and build apprenticeship programs of their own.

EXPANDED PATHWAYS will help you get started.


AASA Charlotte Youth Apprenticeships

AASA Cherry Creek Youth Apprenticeships

AASA Denver Youth Apprenticeships

AASA Highline Youth Apprenticeships

AASA Kentucky Youth Apprenticeships


Denver Case Study


Superintendent: Susana Cordova

District Enrollment: 93,815

Cherry Creek Case Study


Superintendent: Scott Siegfried

District Enrollment: 55,000

Charlotte Case Study

Superintendent: Ernest Winston (current);
former superintendent: Clayton Wilcox (interviewed)

District Enrollment: 146,000

Kentucky Case Study

Superintendent: Michael Ford

District Enrollment: 3,130


Susanna Cordova, Superintendent, Denver Public Schools

This is one of the programs that you could call a ‘nobrainer.’ When our kids take two CareerConnect classes, they are 40% more likely to graduation on time.

Erik Olejarczyk, Principal, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

(Students) are getting paid while they’re in class, they’re getting their tuition paid for. They’re going to come out of high school making $40,000 to $50,000 a year with tremendous opportunity for advancement. They’re going to come out debt free. We’re creating children that are employable or that even if they go off to college, they have the opportunity to not be in that 40%, or not being that 60% that don’t get a degree.

Scott Siegfried, Superintendent, Cherry Creek School District

Youth apprenticeships are a critical part of my leadership agenda. It’s about moving away from the idea that everybody needs to go to college. Every student needs to find their own individual pathway for their future. That could be a four-year college, a two-year college, an apprenticeship, an internship, a certificate, or the military—or go straight to work. An apprenticeship is important because it gives students real-world work experience before they leave us.

Sarah Grobbel, Assistant Superintendent for Career and Innovation, Cherry Creek School District

The most exciting thing about an apprenticeship with students is the fact that they get an opportunity to have a work-based experience. They get to see what day-to-day will actually be like in business or industry—and they also start to appreciate what they need inside their classes to be successful.

David Horseman, Associate Commissioner of Career and Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Education

All industries in Kentucky are struggling to find employees and skilled employees are what is in highest demand. Youth apprenticeships represent one of those opportunities that in the past has been offered for training purposes for adults, but we want to speed up feeding the pipeline by starting youth apprenticeships, and we’ve had great success with it up to this point.

Meaghan Sullivan, Chief Program Officer, CareerWise Colorado

Youth apprenticeship has the opportunity to absolutely transform career-connected learning in Colorado. We started out with six occupations. Now we have 19 different apprentice-able occupations in the CareerWise Suite. In Switzerland, our model is based on the Swiss apprenticeship model, which has 230. So, really, the skill is the limit in terms of opportunities students can train for in their youth apprenticeship space.

Bernard McCune, Executive Director for Career and College Success, Denver Public Schools

When we look at our youth apprenticeships, one of the great things is that it is benefiting all of the students in our district. The demographics of our youth apprentices mirrors that of our district

Susan Enfield, Superintendent, Highline Public Schools

Our Highline promise is to know every student by name, strength and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose. And if we are going to deliver on that promise with honesty, integrity and authenticity then we have to provide expanded pathways.

*** This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with Federal funds from the Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration under the contract number/work order DOL-OPS-16-A-0012/1605DC-18-F-00060.  The contents of this toolkit do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of same by the U.S. Government.