Grant helping young people jump start their careers in Delaware

DELAWARE – The Delaware Department of Education is launching a youth apprenticeship readiness program. The program is made possible with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Labor. “The overall intent to ensure that students are learning on the job site and in the classroom as they progress into high paying careers,” said director of career and technical education for the Delaware DOE Luke Rhine.

Rhine says the program is broken down into three categories. The grant will help fund apprenticeship opportunities for students entering the construction, hospitality, and IT industries. He says that construction is a bedrock industry for Delaware. “It’s an industry that – as we’ve moved through the COVID experience – has remained strong and has continued to grow and create great career ladders and career opportunities for adults,” said Rhine.

Rhine tells 47ABC that those entering the hospitality industry were especially impacted by COVID-19. “Our hospitality and tourism industry has changed dramatically as a result of COVID. So this creates an opportunity for employers and employees to develop a new social contract,” said Rhine.

Another area that Rhine says is growing rapidly is information technology. “This is a huge growth area in the state of Delaware in the development of post secondary apprenticeship development and the youth registered apprenticeship programs,” said Rhine.

Rhine says the programs will help pay students a living wage, while preparing them to start their careers. “What makes the program really unique is that the student will actually start the registered apprenticeship program while still in high school. So that means while they are in high school they will be earning both high school diploma as well as industry credentials onto a secondary space,” said Rhine.

Rhine says they wanted to target the program at some of the industries hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. He says it wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork between educational institutions and industry organizations. “It’s the relationship between these industry associations and educational institutions that will really help youth to connect with employers,” said Rhine.

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