From the Oskaloosa Herald
BY ANGIE HOLLAND Managing editor Feb 7, 2019
OSKALOOSA — There are local apprenticeship programs are available for Oskaloosa High School students.
An apprenticeship career day was held Tuesday at Oskaloosa High School for Oskaloosa and Eddyville High School students.
Oskaloosa High School consumer science teacher Kristin Bandy said the employers were invited for the event, led by Bandy, Iowa Works and Indian Hills Community College.
"We have team worked and gotten this career day going for the students' benefit," she said. "The main goal is for them to learn what an apprenticeship program is, learn the details and the ins and outs of it. We have seven different apprenticeship programs around the local area that the kids can get involved with and learn about if they're interested."
This is the first year for the apprenticeship career day, and Bandy said she expects the event to continue in the future.
"We had 110 kids sign up, so this space really only holds 90, so what we had to do is make it so the freshmen didn't get a chance to participate this year," she said, "which we'll have to figure out for next year, how to maybe have a bigger space or whatever we're going to do differently next year."
Bandy said she has heard a lot of good feedback today and the students seem very interested.
"Today, they learned a lot, they learned a lot of information about apprenticeship programs as well as different career areas, not just apprenticeships," she said. "There were seven different careers here and each of those seven represented careers probably has at least 7-10 careers you can go into within their individual area."
Christian Ray, Indian Hills Community College apprenticeship development specialist, said introducing students to apprenticeship opportunities helps meet the governor's initiative of having a secondary credential beyond high school.
"Manufacturing – and industry as a whole – needs 70 percent of those individuals graduating to have secondary credentials by 2025," he said. "And in order for us to meet that, we have to start educating kids today for tomorrow's workforce."
Apprenticeship is considered 'the other college,' Ray said.
"It's not the traditional four years of college right after high school," he said. "It's getting a career opportunity right out of high school and then following that path to still get the education but get it paid for free, potentially."
Nathan Miller, from IHCC, said potential careers range from information technology to advanced manufacturing and beyond.
"We're talking welding, machining, it could be HVAC maintenance, healthcare, baking. Literally, it culminates everything," he said. "And really, this is for students that aren't on that four-year track. Maybe school isn't right for them. Maybe they're more hands-on. This is perfect for them. This is a way for them to get that training and that education for free. Essentially, they're getting paid to go out and get trained as a licensed professional in whatever field."
Ray addressed the students and urged them to do something with the information they've been given.
"So have a plan, follow that plan and stick to that plan, whether it's a registered apprenticeship program or college," he said. "I'm not here to talk you out of either one or talk you into either one. But registered apprenticeship programs can be both. It can be a learning opportunity, the educational opportunity and an excellent career opportunity as well."