State Expands Scope of Youth Apprenticeship Program

    Maryland high school students who want to earn both money and hands-on experience in careers as varied as auto mechanic, line chef, information technology assistant or arborist can now learn from more than 100 employers offering apprenticeships through Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program, state officials said last week.

    That’s more than seven times the number of employers the Apprenticeship Maryland Program began with three years ago, when it was piloted in two counties with 14 businesses participating, said Christopher MacLarion, director of Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

    Last month, officials announced they had added 14 employers, bringing the total to at least 108 businesses participating in the program, which will expand to nine counties beginning in September.

    “For students, you can earn pocket money and get to try out a career you’re interested in – and there’s a pathway,” MacLarion said. For employers, “it feeds into the retention model. It’s a low-cost way to bring somebody in and see, are they right for the industry? Are they right for you? Are you right for them?”

    The new employers are offering a range of apprentice positions for high school juniors and seniors, who will work 450 hours in their chosen industry. For example, Kreitz Auto in Frederick County is offering apprenticeships for both an auto mechanic and media marketing apprentice.

    Willets Technology, in Allegany County, and Howard Tech Advisors in Howard County, will train IT assistants, while Carter Hospitality Group is offering apprenticeships for both hotel associate desk work and a line chef in the kitchen. Winsupply, an electrical wholesaler in Frederick County, will train a marketing manager apprentice. More traditional apprenticeships are also included, such as those with the Harford County Electrical Contractors Association, which modified an existing “registered apprenticeship” program for adults to include Harford Technical High School electrical students in an approved school-to-apprenticeship program.

    Counties participating in the youth apprenticeship program in September will include Allegany, Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Washington.

    Lisa Nevans Locke is a freelance writer who has covered education, local and federal government, and other issues in the region for more than 25 years. She also teaches writing at Montgomery College. She can be reached at [email protected]