IR # 96-21
Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Louis Bonsignore
(415) 972-8835
Troy Swauger
(415) 972-8835

Pilot Milpitas Program to Boost Apprenticeship in State

Milpitas -- Students from Milpitas High School will be some of the first in California to benefit from a pilot program designed to fast track them into careers in the precision metal trades, announced Lloyd W. Aubry Jr., director of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

The Department of Industrial Relations, working through its Division of Apprenticeship Standards and in cooperation with Milpitas School District and the adult education office, will kick off a unique program in Milpitas today that will ultimately bring apprenticeship programs to local high school students. With today's signing of a memorandum of understanding between the school district, the adult education office and the Department of Industrial Relations, the local school district becomes one of the first School-to-Apprenticeship sites in California. The apprenticeship program will focus on occupations such as highly-skilled machinists, and tool and dye makers.

Called Schools to Career/Apprenticeships Program, the plan will provide students with valuable knowledge about careers that await them in California and allow them early entry into career paths with formalized training and education. With the average age of apprentices statewide currently at 28 years, high school and adult education students who successfully participate in this program can expect to develop the skills that will make them eligible for higher paying journey-level jobs at a much earlier age.

"This is a rare opportunity for our young people to have access to career paths that were never open before," Director Aubry said. "What we can do with this joint effort between our Division of Apprenticeship Standards and dozens of schools is to open doors into several areas for these students. This goal is now within reach here in Milpitas as a result of the hard work and dedicated efforts from our partners."

The pilot is a by-product of Gov. Pete Wilson's School-to-Career program developed by his task force last year. It will focus on building a precision metal trades profession for students from ninth-grade through completion of the career path. While in high school, students start the program on a part-time basis. Once finished with school they will move into their full-time apprenticeship program.

Career path completion includes at least one of the following: Successful completion of the apprenticeship program, and/or completion of a four-year college or university degree.

"The pilot program is the result of an eight-month planning schedule by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards," Aubry said. "The Milpitas adult education office has promised that its strong employer linkage is a surefire avenue to the program's success."

Though there are no plans for any direct outlay of state funding of the program, Division of Apprenticeship Standards will provide technical assistance to the Milpitas district superintendent of schools and the adult education district to ensure the successful completion of students involved in the program.

Subsequent launching of the Schools to Career/Apprenticeships Program are scheduled for Auburn, Torrance, Stockton and Redding. The apprenticeship programs will concentrate on the culinary, automotive repair, health care, and manufacturing industries.