San Joaquin County launches high school apprenticeship program

Pictured are the first six students to participate in San Joaquin County’s new Apprentice-ships Reaching Career Horizons program. The ARCH program will let students learn career skills with hands-on training while earning income and college credit. (Courtesy)

A handful of San Joaquin County students will get hands-on training, college credit and an income this school year — all from the same program.

The six students are the first in the state to sign with the High School Apprenticeships Reaching Career Horizons program, which will send them into the workforce as registered apprentices. Previously, according to a San Joaquin County Office of Education release, only pre-apprenticeship programs had been available to the state’s high school students.

ARCH is available through a California Apprenticeships Initiative Grant awarded to SJCOE from the Community College Chancellor’s Office. Other partners in the grant were San Joaquin County WorkNet, San Joaquin Delta College, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, Partnership for Advancing Youth Apprenticeships, and participating school districts — one of which is Lodi Unified.

According to Zack Johnson, public information officer for the SJCOE, while none of the first six students to sign on for apprenticeships are from Lodi Unified, “Lodi Unified has been involved in this grant process over the last year, so they are one of the partners in the grant, they will receive funding.”

The program is available to juniors and seniors who are at least 16 years old and attending a participating school district. Students interested in joining can talk to their guidance counselor of career technical education (CTE) advisors.

The first six ARCH students, who signed their apprenticeships on Nov. 12, are comprised of two from Linden Unified (Aaron Drumm and Cristian Soto), two from Ripon Unified (Carter Lacey and Luke Ruba) and two from SJCOE (Seven Galvez and Teri Wilson).

The first apprenticeships are with the districts’ information technology departments, but the program is looking for business partners outside of school districts, and in other industries. ARCH is looking for employers in the county to start apprenticeship programs in IT, auto mechanics, home health aides and logistics. Employers interested are urged to contact Pam Knapp, SJCOE’s director of college and career readiness, at paknapp@sjcoe.net.

Apprenticeships offer a path to rewarding careers for a diverse workforce and are an effective way for employers to develop talent,” said John Dunn, assistant secretary for apprenticeship and worker training at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, in the SJCOE’s release. “This new program will take us closer to reach the Governor’s goal to develop 500,000 new apprenticeships in the state over the next decade.”

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