D-51 first district in Colorado to offer paid apprenticeship program

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- District 51 will become one of the first school districts in Colorado to start a paid apprenticeship program.

The program is called CareerWise.

In the fall, high school upperclassmen can apply for a three year apprenticeship. Students will work three days a week at minimum wage, and will be receiving high school, and college credit.

"We’re on the ground floor here, and we’re building a rural model of what this looks like for school districts and businesses," said the Executive Director for Secondary Education Matthew Diers.

Businesses hiring for the program hosted an open house Thursday night. .
"I really like the fact that they don't see that we're just reckless teenagers. They actually see a future from us and that we are the future,” said Taylor Cochran a student at Palisade High School.

It was the first step in meeting the potential employees.

"There’s a commitment for businesses to take on a student. [Teaching them] to grow and learn and develop their skills within that business," said Diers.

If a student doesn't like their apprenticeship, the district said, at the very least, the student will have workforce skills to gain a new job, or further their education.

"It’s not an apprenticeship where they’ll stay in that job, it's very portable," said Diers.

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