Fourteen registered apprenticeship programs in the state are run through Iowa high schools.
Kristopher Byam, the principal at Boone High School, says the program in his district started three years ago with “pre-apprenticeships” in three local businesses.
“We continue to look for other pathways to grow our offerings for our students,” Byam says, “which include engineering, computer science, welding, aviation and retail management.”
This month, Byam and the Boone Fire Department started discussing possible apprenticeships for EMTs and firefighters.
The Boone High School’s program is called EDGE. Fareway is offering an apprenticeship in meat cutting through the school. Technicians from a local John Deere dealership are leading an introductory class for Boone students with an interest in farm machinery mechanics.
“It shows our students that learning happens in many different ways and many different avenues,” Byam says. “The apprenticeship is a vehicle within my school that allows for our students to envision their future in Iowa and gives them a clear route to post-secondary success with the least amount of debt.”
Apprenticeships are just one way businesses can help prepare students for work, according to Byam.
“Even the most random business has opportunities that could help our students learn those essential skills needed to be successful,” Byam says. “Whether it’s job shadows, local projects, business tours, pre-apprenticeship programs, apprenticeships, internships, classroom presentations…Really, the sky is the limit.”
According to Governor Reynolds, 108 Iowa high schools have contacted the state apprenticeship coordinator in the past two years about setting up local programs. State grants are available for newly-created apprenticeship programs.