July 6, 2022

Youth apprenticeship program hopes to reach hundreds of students with new funding

A Marion County program to connect high school students with paid, on-the-job experience will receive $6 million for three years to continue its work.

A Marion County program to connect high school students with paid, on-the-job experience will receive $6 million for three years to continue its work.

A Marion County program to connect high school students with paid, on-the-job experience will receive $6 million for three years to continue its work.

Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy received funding from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation to support the Modern Apprenticeship program.

Ascend Indiana Vice President and co-founder, Stephanie Bothun said the program was launched in October 2020 and has helped many students to further their education.

“We had 30 apprentices in cohort one, 93 percent of them identified as students of color. We had over 190 applications for those roles, and we partnered with seven different high schools, 16 employers and had 11 different occupational pathways for students to choose from,” Bothun said.

Bothun said the goal with the new funding is to provide opportunities to 400 Marion County students over the next three years.

“Ascend and EmployIndy are charting the course for meaningful career pathways leading to higher rates of credential completion, degree attainment, and placement into good and promising jobs,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “Together, these efforts will cement modern youth apprenticeship as a mainstream talent solution for employers as well as a successful education and career option for Indianapolis students.”

The foundation’s support also enabled Ascend to initiate and convene the statewide Community of Practice, which consists of 125 members across almost 60 organizations, to address barriers to scaling modern youth apprenticeship programs statewide.

In addition, the COP also assists in launching and overseeing a network of modern youth apprenticeship pilots across the state.

Contact WFYI Morning Edition newscaster and reporter Taylor Bennett at tbennett@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @TaylorB2213.

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