District 214, Village of Mount Prospect partner to provide students with hands-on career experiences

The Village of Mount Prospect will soon begin funding youth apprenticeships for High School District 214 students residing in Mount Prospect as part of a new initiative to prepare youth for in-demand careers in the community.

The commitment, approved at the June 5 Village Board of Trustees meeting, is part of a new Workforce Innovation Partnership between the Village and District 214, and will help District 214 students gain skills and hands-on experiences in various industries. The partnership is aligned with District 214’s Center for Career Discovery and Career Pathways program, which provides students with career-focused courses and hands-on experiences to explore careers and discover their futures.

As part of the partnership, the Village will invest $300,000 in facilitating workplace experiences with Mount Prospect and other regional employers over a three-year period beginning in 2018. The funds will be used to support a career advisor who will coordinate each customized experience, work with employers and support students through the process. The funds will also go toward students’ college tuition costs for those required to take college-level coursework as part of their youth apprenticeship.

“This partnership allows for Mount Prospect students to prepare a career path in a real world setting while earning college credit,” said Village Manager Michael Cassady. “Creating accessibility to a trained workforce will help differentiate Mount Prospect for firms making business investment decisions.”

Youth apprenticeships are part of a workforce development strategy that helps recruit and develop a highly-skilled labor pipeline while meeting the demands of the local and national economy. Employers who utilize apprentices report higher productivity, higher retention rates and a substantial return on investment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

District 214’s Career Pathways program helps students explore careers through rigorous, career-focused courses, access to early college credits and industry credentials, and workplace learning experiences, such as youth apprenticeships and internships.

Over the past two years, educators from 45 school districts and 12 states have visited District 214 and the Mount Prospect community to learn about the Career Pathways program and hear from students who have benefited from the workplace learning experiences. Today, the District works with more than 970 community, business and industry partners to coordinate close to 3,000 student hands-on experiences annually.

“We are thrilled we can give our students these authentic workplace learning experiences and work with our Mount Prospect municipal and business partners to prepare students for 21st century careers,” said Dr. David R. Schuler, superintendent of District 214. “This partnership with the Village of Mount Prospect truly shows how public education can serve as an economic engine, and how together we can build a pipeline of talent for in-demand jobs and invest in our communities.”

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