Denver Introduces Cohort of Youth Apprentices with CareerWise Colorado

Published on August 30, 2021

DENVER - Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) welcomed a new cohort of twelve apprentices late last week in partnership with CareerWise Colorado. Deemed as a Mayoral priority under the Hancock Administration, the program aims to expand paths to career while building transferrable skills for Denver youth ages 15-19.

“These young people have a bright future in our great city,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “By building this foundation early, they are afforded a skillset that can never be taken from them as well as a better picture of what they want to pursue as a career before investing in further education or training." 

The new cohort of twelve youth apprentices was recruited earlier this year with CareerWise Colorado and Denver Public Schools (DPS), opening the application in March 2021 and completing interviews and competitive hiring process in July. Applications were open to DPS juniors and seniors or Denver resident juniors and seniors. Priority was given to applicants located in the ten Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization (NEST) targeted neighborhoods of East Colfax, Elyria-Swansea, Globeville, Montbello, Northeast Park Hill, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, West Colfax, and Westwood.

The city also employs an additional two youth apprentices who were part of the city’s pilot program launched in 2019.

Apprentices typically attend high school or college classes for part of the week and work for the city for the other half, earning $15 per hour. The fourteen apprentices are working in eight different city agencies in roles such as Business Operations Associate, Project Coordinator, Accounting Technician, IT Technician, and Logistic Technician.

“Apprentices attend workplace-readiness training that prepares them for what to expect and how to acclimate to a professional environment,” said Noel Ginsburg, CareerWise founder and CEO. “That training is the start of an incredible work-based learning journey that not only teaches the technical skills of the job, but just as importantly the essential soft skills—like communication, time management and resiliency—that necessary for success in any field.”

DEDO is partnering with the city’s Office of Financial Empowerment and Protection to provide each apprentice with a financial coach, financial empowerment workshops, and banking assistance. This partnership was created to increase the wealth attainment of the apprentices and to provide life-long skills for generational wealth-building.

Each position will be registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, and by the completion of the three-year program, apprentices will earn an industry-recognized certification, having access to up to $4,000 in tuition reimbursement for select college courses they may begin taking after graduating high school.

“Apprenticeship is designed to be a win-win for students and employers. Apprentices are training alongside seasoned professionals doing meaningful work, creating a talent pipeline that is ready to step into entry-level roles—in many cases without the burden of college debt,” said Ginsburg. “It’s an innovative workforce development strategy for employers, and for students it’s an options multiplier that can lead to directly to their career or additional education.”

The pilot cohort of two will graduate the program in June of 2022. One apprentice is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Metro State university in Social Work and the other is starting a bookkeeping business serving small nonprofit organizations.

The city plans on hiring new cohorts of apprentices each year, with the ultimate goal of providing Denver youth with a meaningful work experience that will launch their careers in modern fields.

About Denver Economic Development & Opportunity 
Denver Economic Development & Opportunity is leading an inclusive and innovative economy for all Denver residents, businesses, and neighborhoods. By supporting local and global business development, workforce development programs, and stabilization efforts in Denver’s diverse neighborhoods, we are creating opportunity for everyone to make a home, get a job, and build a future. Learn more at www.denvergov.org/economicdevelopment.

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