Youth Apprenticeship is a structured combination of school-based and work-based learning. Through a coordinated effort involving business and industry, Youth Apprenticeship addresses the dual of preparing students for the world of work and providing Georgia with a highly skilled, technologically competitive workforce. A student participating in the Youth Apprenticeship Program receives an education that is both academically challenging and relevant to employment in today’s economy. The program enables a student to receive a high school diploma, a post-secondary certificate or degree, and certification of industry-recognized competencies applicable to employment in a high-skilled occupation.
Essential components of Georgia’s Youth Apprenticeship Program are:
- a partnership structure involving secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, employers, and community representatives;
- structured linkage between secondary and post-secondary components, leading to a high school diploma and post-secondary credential; and
- academic and vocational classroom instruction combined with on-the-job learning experiences.
Work-based learning includes the development of a detailed training plan between the employer and apprentice; identification of specific work tasks that will develop workplace competencies; a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training with earnings based on a progressive wage schedule established by the participating employers; workplace mentoring; and instruction in general workplace competencies as well as all aspects of a chosen industry.
School-based learning includes a minimum of 144 classroom hours of related academic instruction; the selection of a career major by the 11th grade; periodic evaluations; and on-going guidance.
In addition to meeting the required guidelines to be a part of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, students are also expected to excel in these three areas:
- academic performance
- school and workplace behavior
- job performance
Once the student has excelled in the aforementioned areas, there are still three critical elements that must be in place before a Youth Apprenticeship student can truly experience an authentic work-based learning experience. Those three elements are:
- the mentor (someone who provides guidance and encouragement to student),
- student evaluations (done by the employer and serves as an assessment tool for the student’s job performance), and
- professional portfolios.
Since its inception in 1993, the program has provided a win-win situation for all parties involved in the program. A key factor contributing to the program’s success is the positive experience of the youth apprentices themselves. Because the program focuses on developing an individualized training plan for each youth apprentice, students recognize clear connections between their learning in the classroom setting, their experiences on the job, and achieving their future goals for careers and higher education.
Georgia high school students benefit from their participation in the Youth Apprenticeship Program by:
- establishing a clear connection between education and work.
- increasing motivation and retention by showing the relevance of academic and occupational instruction.
- providing opportunities to explore possible careers and enhancing skill development.
- developing workplace responsibility and positive work habits and attitudes.
- encouraging completion of secondary education and enrollment in post-secondary education.
- providing opportunities for leadership.
- learning from skilled professionals, and
- earning progressive pay while still in high school.
Not only do students benefit greatly from their participation in the Youth Apprenticeship Program; employers also reap rewards for their participation. Through their participation, employers are provided an opportunity to:
- increase employer visibility in education.
- prepare future workers.
- reduce their costs for recruitment and training.
- communicate required job-specific proficiencies to educational personnel.
- improve employee retention.
- offer a skilled, homegrown workforce for Georgia in the 21st century.
- become more involved with the curriculum development process.
Employers view apprentices as valuable employees that make a real contribution to their businesses. Youth Apprenticeship employers know that they are not only helping young people achieve their dreams, they are also developing a world-class workforce for Georgia in the 21st century. Each year a customer satisfaction survey is sent to employers participating in the Youth Apprenticeship Program to ascertain their satisfaction with the program and the students they employ as a part of the program. Results of the employer surveys can be seen in the archive files box near the top of this page.
In addition to students and employers benefiting from their participation in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, school systems also are able to benefit from their participation. As mentioned earlier in this document, 165 school systems are currently participating in the Youth Apprenticeship Program. School systems are benefited by:
- keeping academic and occupational curricula up-to-date through communication with business and industry.
- providing access to the latest equipment and technology.
- enhancing education’s ability to meet the needs of diverse student populations.
- making education more relevant and valuable to students.
- increasing student retention.
- augmenting interaction between education and the business community.
- promoting faculty interaction with the business community.
- facilitating communication regarding actual academic and occupational proficiencies required by business and industry.
How does Youth Apprenticeship benefit the community that it serves? Youth Apprenticeship benefits the community by:
- providing an informed, competent, and productive future workforce.
- ensuring cooperation and understanding between education, business, and the community.
- enhancing awareness of local employment opportunities.
- building the foundation for a more productive local economy.
The Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) is implemented by coordinators who may serve one or more schools. In some cases, a Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator may serve multiple school systems. For information concerning coordinator by school system, see the "Directory by Region" in the Directories box near the top of this page.
YAP Coordinators are organized by region for meeting and professional development purposes. Information about the region organizations can be found in the "Youth Apprenticeship Region Map" link in the Directories box near the top of this page.