IR # 96-16
Wednesday, May 16, 1996

Louis Bonsignore
(415) 972-8835
Rick Rice
(714) 935-2812

Pilot Riverside Program to Boost Apprenticeship Across State

Riverside -- Riverside County high school students will be the first in California to benefit from a new pilot program designed to fast track students into careers in trades and industry, announced Lloyd W. Aubry Jr., director of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

The Department of Industrial Relations, in cooperation with the Riverside County Office of Education and its own Division of Apprenticeship Standards, will kick off a unique program in Riverside today that will ultimately bring apprenticeship programs into dozens of the state's high schools. With today's signing of a memorandum of understanding between the school district, the community college and the Department of Industrial Relations, Riverside County becomes the first School-to-Apprenticeship site in California. The apprenticeship program here will focus on the culinary industry.

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 community college 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 Riverside as a result of the hard work and dedicated efforts from our partners."

The pilot program 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 hospitality career path 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 one or more of the following: Successful completion of the apprenticeship program, completion of an Associate of Arts degree and/or certificate from the community college, 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," Aubry said. "The involvement of the Riverside County education system was launched nearly four months ago. One of the main focuses for the Riverside involvement was that the district houses an estimated 5 percent of the state's registered students. The district 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 Riverside County superintendent of schools and the Riverside Community College District to ensure the successful completion of students involved in the program.

A second ceremony to launch a Schools to Career/Apprenticeships Program, is scheduled in Salinas/Monterey on May 22. Later events will be launched in Auburn, Torrance, Stockton, Redding and Milpitas. The apprenticeship programs will concentrate on the automotive repair, health care, and manufacturing industries.