Trips to employers help spark interest in apprenticeships
There's no better way to learn than getting a hands-on opportunity, and it's even better when you're getting paid!
College of Lake County's (CLC) Apprenticeship Program hosted Summer Apprenticeship Awareness Program helps high school students learn about the different apprenticeship opportunities available through the college with field trips to various employers.
An apprenticeship is a structured "Learn and Earn" program combining job-related classroom learning along with structured on-the-job training guided by a mentor. Apprenticeship programs provide participants with a set of skills that meet the specific needs of local employers using a flexible learning approach.
Apprenticeships support critical Lake County workforce needs and provide a pipeline for these businesses to get homegrown talent with the latest education. Research shows that 95 percent of apprentices continue to work at the business in which they had the apprenticeship opportunity.
For the apprenticeship, students work and go to class for a combined 40 hours. The classes they take as part of the apprenticeship are relevant to what they're doing on the job.
Seven trips are planned for the summer. They include Aon, Siemens, Medline, LMT Onsrud, MxD, Gerber Collision and Glass and Schmechtig Landscaping.
"These excursions help high school students decide what their interests are," said Apprenticeship Assistant Susan Frankovicova. "Many didn't know about fields like manufacturing or horticulture, but after the trip, discovered it was the field they wanted to study."
The program also includes shadow days this summer in which faculty in six academic areas present to the high school students information about their program and show them technology, equipment and resources that CLC students would be using. These departments include: automotive collision repair; automation, robotics and mechatronics; business administration; horticulture; precision machining technology and IT/cybersecurity.
This is the first year for the program. The need stems from many people not knowing what an apprenticeship actually is.
During spring break, Zoom sessions were held with employers to talk about apprenticeship opportunities they offer. Many students enjoyed that introduction, so the program was expanded to include site visits.
Daniel Padilla, a 17-year-old from Round Lake, went to MxD. He said, "I had very little knowledge of apprenticeships. Learning about them on this trip helped me realize I'd be interested in doing one during college."
Another high school student on the MxD trip, Edy Copdascalu, said, "I learned a lot about the topic of cybersecurity. I knew the bare bones of what apprenticeships were, but I understand them a lot more now. I like the idea of gaining experience while I'm in school."
The program is funded by a grant from MxD, paying for transportation to the employer locations.
The grant also provided a $100 Visa card stipend to each person after completing a reflection form at the end of the trip.
If you're interested in exploring having your business participate in an apprenticeship program, contact the Career and Job Placement Center by phone at 847-543-2059 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.