IR # 96-20
Friday, May 17, 1996

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

Pilot Monterey County Program
to Boost Apprenticeship in State

Salinas -- Students from five Monterey County high schools will be some of the first in California to benefit from a pilot program designed to fast track them into careers in the health care industry, 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 Mission Trails Regional Occupational Program, Seaside, King City, North Salinas, Alisal and North Monterey County high schools, Hartell College and Monterey Peninsula College, will kick off a unique program in Salinas 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, Monterey County becomes only the second School-to-Apprenticeship site in California. In Monterey County the apprenticeship program will focus on the occupations found in the health care industry, such as the nursing field, x-ray and pharmacy technicians.

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 Monterey County 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 health care career 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 Standards," Aubry said. "The involvement of the Monterey County education system was launched nearly four months ago. The regional occupational program 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 five local high schools' health academies 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.