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City of Birmingham Launches Birmingham Promise Apprenticeship Pilot Program for Summer 2019

Birmingham, Ala. ー At least 20 Birmingham City Schools seniors and recent graduates interested in healthcare, digital technology and other fields will get early exposure to working in their dream careers this summer, thanks to a new apprenticeship program presented by the City of Birmingham and several companies.

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 6, the students will report to the Negro Southern League Museum, 120 16th St. South, for interviews. Based on those interviews, company reps will make their selections. Then, at 3:30 p.m., company reps will join Mayor Randall Woodfin in announcing the “matches’’ as part of “Signing Day.’’ Students will work with the companies for seven weeks. (Selected students and company reps will be available for media interviews after the announcements.)

“This is all a part of the Birmingham Promise Apprenticeship Pilot Program, which is focused on offering students high-quality, work-based learning experiences in four, high-growth industry areas: finance and insurance, healthcare and life sciences, energy and engineering, and digital technology,’’ said Mayor Woodfin. “Throughout the summer, apprentices will cover foundational skills such as financial literacy, conflict resolution, punctuality and teamwork.”

This summer pilot is a part of the larger Birmingham Promise Initiative, which will offer multiple pathways for students to “earn and learn” as they develop skills to prepare for jobs in industries that are growing in the regional economy. The Promise will combine secondary and post-secondary apprenticeships with college scholarships to develop pathways into quality jobs. The initiative will use work-based learning opportunities to engage students and families early via career and technical education, dual enrollment opportunities at Lawson State and Jefferson State community colleges, and Birmingham City Schools’ Career Academies.

These apprenticeships will involve a robust vocational education component and work-based learning opportunities that will be guided by a mentor. The program will be complemented by the City of Birmingham’s partnership with SNHU/LRNG, a national leader in delivering digital education to youth. The Jefferson County Commission on Economic Opportunity (JCCEO) and the city’s Office of Innovation and Economic Opportunity will also a partner in the program.

“We know that the cost of college in Alabama is rising eight times faster than wages and that student loan debt is crippling our families,’’ said Mayor Woodfin. “A program like this will help students earn while they learn.  This is a good example of what it looks like when you invest in our students and their futures.’’

Recently, the City of Birmingham obtained the Partnership to Advancing Youth Apprenticeships (PAYA) grant from the New America Foundation, which will help grow the apprenticeships. Long term, the Birmingham Promise will seek to build out year-round apprenticeships for high school students and recent graduates, said Josh Carpenter, director of the city’s Office of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.

The following employers will participate in the program this summer:

  • Alabama Futures Fund
  • Alabama Power Company
  • Altec
  • Baptist Princeton
  • BIG Communications
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Brasfield & Gorrie
  • Encompass Health
  • HOAR Construction
  • Mayer
  • Pack Health
  • Protective
  • Renasant Bank
  • Regions
  • Shipt
  • Spire
  • St. Vincent’s
  • Theranest
  • UAB
  • Vulcan Materials

Note: Please see Chanda Temple for interviews with students or company reps.