By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

The National Skills Coalition reported that middle-skills jobs, which requires a high school diploma but not four-year degree, make up the largest segment of the labor market in all 50 states, and that’s why Prince George’s County is taking the lead in the state of Maryland to ensure that there are more laborers for that sector.

“Prince George’s County Public Schools is providing scholars a unique pathway to fulfill today’s demanding workforce requirements.  It’s called the Youth Apprenticeship Program, the first of its kind in the state of Maryland,” the Youth Apprentice Program launch video said.

Prince George’s County launched an apprenticeship program for high school students- the first of its kind in the state of Maryland. (Courtesy Photo)

Middle-skill jobs include masonry, electrical and plumbing positions.

With the Prince George’s County Public Schools Youth Apprenticeship Program, 11th graders will be eligible to apply for a trade of choice and, if selected, are plunged into their field training next to masters.

“We made sure that they had this type of experiential learning so that it wasn’t just a textbook experience, that it was a hands on,” Jean-Paul Cadet, director of Career and Technical Education said in the Youth Apprenticeship Program launch video.

Not only do the students begin doing hands on work, but during the summer between 11th and 12th grade, students will get the opportunity to work full time next to school district maintenance personnel and make a salary while at it. Upon graduation students are eligible to continue education at Prince George’s Community College and are guaranteed job placement by offering them preferential treatment to be hired for Prince George’s County agencies.

As a master electrician and entrepreneur, Timothy Atchinson, a 2008 graduate of Crossland High School in Suitland, MD, emphasized the importance of trade training and work.   graduate and master electrician and entrepreneur.

“Going to a trade isn’t something that shouldn’t be a plan B.  I really feel as though it should be a plan A.  It gives you opportunities to go into a career that isn’t going to cost you hundreds of thousand of dollars with debt over the head graduating.

According to the Prince George’s County Public Schools’ website, the Youth Apprenticeship Program application includes filling out a student application form, submitting a resume, current transcript and teacher evaluation form.  The application is due March 12.

For more information on the Youth Apprenticeship Program visit the Prince George’s County Public Schools website at https://www.pgcps.org.