Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation Invests in Modern Apprenticeship Program for High School Students in High-Demand Fields
EmployIndy and Ascend Indiana has launched a new apprenticeship model for Indianapolis high school students to prepare them for the future in high-demand industries. Modern Apprenticeship (MAP) is a paid two- to three-year work-based learning experience with local employers, where students will emerge with a high school diploma, college credits, relevant credentials and professional experience. This pilot apprenticeship program starts during an Indianapolis student’s junior year of high school.
Up to 30 students from five Indianapolis-area township school districts and charter schools* will be hired by one of 16 employers* representing a variety of growing, high-demand industries including information technology, financial services, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. Additional apprenticeship opportunities are also available in business operations including human resources, sales and marketing.
Modern Apprenticeship enables high school students to attain soft skills, technical skills and relevant work experience, while excelling in their high school and postsecondary coursework. During the first two years of the apprenticeship, students spend a portion of their day in school and a portion of their day working. In their third year, they focus primarily on their job while finishing the requirements for their industry recognized credential. This schedule provides students with the flexibility to maintain extracurricular activities and social connections while in high school. EmployIndy will also come alongside employers, supervisors, mentors and students by providing support to ensure students are developing professionally and progressing successfully through the program.
“As employers’ demand for highly skilled talent continues to grow in our community, we must establish a system of support to close the equity gap for Indianapolis students,” said Marie Mackintosh, chief strategy officer, EmployIndy. “We have partnered with regional and national career readiness initiatives to pilot a program that provides students with quality, career-relevant experiences combined with classroom learning that will prepare young people for a successful transition to college and jobs of the future.”
The occupations currently available to apprentices include junior coder, quality assurance tech, IT support tech, medical assistant, billing and coding specialist, staff accountant, maintenance technician and project coordinator. Students in the program will earn an average of $13 per hour for their work.
“By providing work-based learning opportunities to high school students from diverse backgrounds, Indianapolis will be able to prepare a strong workforce aligned with 21st century employer demand,” said Jason Kloth, president and CEO, Ascend Indiana. “In addition, having work experience will be especially critical for students as the economy reshapes following COVID-19 and the job market becomes even more competitive.”
“We are thrilled to work alongside Marion County’s workforce development board, EmployIndy, and Ascend Indiana to explore ways to deliver paid employment, on-the-job learning, and related high school and postsecondary classroom-based instruction for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “To further support the Modern Apprenticeship program, the City of Indianapolis will hire up to five apprentices to work in various departments within the City-County enterprise.”
Momentum has been building in Indiana and nationwide to develop models for connecting employers and high school students, with Modern Apprenticeship being one approach. Through the generous support of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, this model is being established in Indianapolis, with plans to coordinate learnings and share best practices statewide.
“In 2019, an Indiana coalition came together to create a modern apprenticeship strategy by benchmarking with established programs in Switzerland and emerging initiatives in Colorado, Washington and South Carolina,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “What we learned has guided our plans for the modern apprenticeship pilot and our vision for a statewide system. At the core, Modern Apprenticeship is an options multiplier that provides more than one structured pathway for Indiana’s high school students to achieve success following graduation.”
*Participating Indianapolis-area Township School Districts and Charter Schools: Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Phalen Leadership Academy, Pike High School, Washington Township and Victory College Prep
*Participating Employers: Ascend Indiana, Ascension St. Vincent, City of Indianapolis, EmployIndy, Katz Sapper & Miller, iLAB, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indy Chamber, Ivy Tech Community College, OneAmerica, Roche Diagnostics, Skillful Indiana, TechPoint, The Heritage Group and UnitedHealthcare
In November 2019, the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation awarded a $3 million, two-year grant to Ascend Indiana to partner with EmployIndy to design and launch this modern youth apprenticeship pilot in Central Indiana. The grant also supports Ascend Indiana’s work to coordinate learnings and best practices statewide by bringing together leaders from communities across Indiana. Critical technical support for this work comes from two national experts in youth apprenticeship: CareerWise Colorado and New America’s Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA).