Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce members recently have taken on a new responsibility: helping to shape a career for young area residents through an engineering youth apprenticeship program for high schoolers.
With hopes of making the program — set to begin in fall of 2018 — a template for other jurisdictions to emulate, the Chamber teamed up with Trident Technical College and Project Lead the Way to augment the existing Charleston Regional Youth Apprenticeship program.
Participants supplement their regular high school courses with approximately 10 hours of on-site job experience weekly, increasing their time commitment during summer vacation.
The Chamber sponsors its Accelerate Greater Charleston fund to help students afford tuition and supply expenses. Even better, those who complete the program not only attain a high school diploma, career certification and valuable experience, but also accumulate no college debt whatsoever.
“We are extremely proud to have the Engineering Youth Apprenticeship program making roots in the Charleston region, creating life-changing opportunities for our students as well as showcasing the efforts of our metro to create relevant educational pathways,” Bryan Derreberry, the Charleston Metro Chamber's president and CEO, said.
South Carolina’s Project Lead the Way is part of a national organization supporting STEM-related curriculum for middle and high school students. Local Project Lead the Way Senior Vice President Glade Montgomery called Charleston a “perfect location to begin this collaborative work.”
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