HELENA - There is an upcoming program for high school students to combat Montana’s workers-shortage.
High school students now have the opportunity to learn more, outside the classroom. The Montana Youth Apprenticeship Partnership (MYAP), has partnered with the Montana Registered Apprenticeship program to provide hands-on work experience for high school students before they even graduate.
“For students, for example, they don't have to choose between education and work. They can do those things at the same time,” says Kristin Tessman, the Grant Lead for MYAP.
The plan for students, if they join, is to have them go to high school, half day. Then, spend the other half, on the job, with their employer, with salary. They’ll even get to spend time at a local college working towards a two-year degree.
“I absolutely think youth apprenticeship is an excellent model for dealing with the skilled-worker shortage. For one, high school students are an entire population, that’s sitting here in the state, essentially ready to work, right now,” says Tessman.
The Bureau of Business and Economic research highlighted the skilled-worker shortage in its annual economic series.
Tessman says this program can help those who want to stay in Montana.
“In a lot of ways, for the students that do want to live and work in Montana, after they graduated from high school, this gives them a very clear pathway into high-wage, in-demand careers,” says Tessman.
Buffy Smith is a computer science teacher at Helena High School and an early advocate for MYAP. She is in charge of the curriculum for the students involved in the program.
“So, any businesses who are interested, it would be great if they would sign up to join. We have super intelligent kids who know how to do fantastic things, and I think they would be pleasantly surprised if they would be willing to work with some of these kids,” says Mrs. Smith.
The expected start date for this program is the Fall 2020 semester in Helena and Billings.
MYAP is currently looking for Helena employers to sign onto the partnership. For more information on the program, contact Kelly Cresswell, if you are a Helena business.
Kelly Cresswell, Excecutuve Director for Reach Higher Montana:
Office: 406-422-1275 ext. 804
For Billings businesses, contact Karen Miller, BillingsWork Director: