Growing apprenticeship program prepares high school students for 'real world'

Roanoke County Public Schools kicked off the program in 2017


ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Local high school students are gaining real-world experience, thanks to a growing apprenticeship program. 

Roanoke County students can work toward an industry-recognized certification as part of the Student Registered Apprenticeship program, which pairs students with businesses. 

The students work part-time at one of the eight partner businesses for up to two years. The goal is to help those students secure high-paying jobs at those businesses after graduation. 

The Western Virginia Water Authority started it all in 2017, taking the plunge with five students. Nine students who participated last year will participate again this year, and 21 new students have committed. 

The county treats these students like stars, with a signing day when students enroll akin to athletes announcing where they'll play ball. It's following a shift toward trades instead of student loans and college degrees.

Right now, the program is designed for juniors and seniors. Click here to learn more.