Students who are planning careers in programming and software development, such as system manager, computer hardware engineer, computer operator and programmer, security analyst and software developer, will acquire advanced skills as well as college credits in this pathway. It also offers 12 Harper College certificates, practical work-based experience and an opportunity for apprenticeships in the district’s new youth apprenticeship program.
District 214 set up the Youth Apprenticeship program to establish student apprenticeships with local employers. It is one of the first apprenticeship programs in the country to be created and managed by a school district rather than bringing in external organizations to run the program, according to Jobs for the Future, a leading workforce research organization.
Apprentices are selected for the program in their junior year of high school. They get 20 to 30 hours a month of paid job training during the second semester in addition to college coursework and mentoring. During the summer, they work up to 28 hours a week to expand their skills. At the end of the program, students receive either a federally registered apprenticeship certification or a youth apprenticeship certification in addition to up to a year of college credits.
During the program’s pilot year, the District opted to use its own facilities for job placements in cybersecurity, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) and automotive services to streamline the process.
Work Based Learning Experiences in Information Tech and Network Systems
Student Apprentices have completed a variety of tasks in the Cybersecurity field, including, but not limited to:
- Testing, installing and monitoring devices such as APs or UPSs
- Researching and Installing a functioning version of VMware onto a practice server
- Programing and performing maintenance on servers and configuring hardware
- Performed help desk assistance to students by identifying, addressing and solving technical issues.