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Kent County Becomes Seventh Maryland School System to Join Growing Youth Apprenticeship Program

BALTIMORE (March 18, 2019) – Governor Larry Hogan, with Acting Maryland Labor Secretary James E. Rzepkowski and Maryland State Department of Education Assistant State Superintendent Dr. Lynne Gilli, today announced that Kent County has become the seventh Maryland school system to join the growing Apprenticeship Maryland Program. Kent’s participation in the state’s youth apprenticeship program will provide opportunities for Eastern Shore high school juniors and seniors to gain valuable work experience and get an early start on a career pathway.

“Our administration’s nationally recognized youth apprenticeship program continues to grow in popularity with Maryland’s local public school systems,” said Governor Hogan. “Youth apprenticeship is a proven way to give our high school students a head start on a fulfilling career and give our employers access to talent trained in the specific skillsets needed for today’s 21st century workforce.”

The Apprenticeship Maryland Program was founded in 2015 as a pilot in Frederick and Washington counties, and is a partnership between the Maryland Department of Labor, the Maryland State Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the county public school system, community educational and business partners, and area employers. As in other participating counties, Kent County Public Schools will coordinate student placements; their goal is to place up to five students during the first year of the program.

“We are very excited to launch our apprenticeship program with Dixon Valve Coupling, a major employer in Kent County,” said Kent County Public Schools Superintendent Karen M. Couch. “Dixon Valve has been supportive of the school system and this is a natural evolution of an exceptional partnership. We hope to expand the youth apprenticeship program into other Kent County businesses. Apprenticeship programs provide real-world experience, knowledge, and skills for our students to pursue postsecondary education and job training to become successful in their chosen career.”

Apprenticeship Maryland specifically invests in the key industries of manufacturing, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and offers apprenticeable occupations in such industries as construction, communications, media, and more, giving students valuable work experience in growing fields.

“Youth apprenticeship engages a new generation of workers, ensuring Maryland employers have access to the talent they need for their businesses to grow and prosper,” said Acting Maryland Labor Secretary Rzepkowski. “This proven workforce development program builds a highly trained workforce that increases a company’s quality and productivity, while offering our high school students the knowledge and skills they need to get a jumpstart on their careers and become experts in growing, in-demand fields of work.”

Youth apprenticeship program students work a minimum of 450 hours with a certified employer, while receiving related educational training through their high school. Participating students typically work during the summer after their junior year and during their senior year with a state-approved employer. They work with a mentor to learn valuable skills and earn industry credentials and high school credit.

“The Apprenticeship Maryland Career and Technology Education Program is a great option for students to get work experience that can lead to full-time employment as well as college,” said Dr. Lynne Gilli, Maryland Department of Education assistant state superintendant. “Not only is it an earn and learn opportunity for students, but it is also a workforce development solution for employers—a win/win for everyone.”

Since its launch, the Apprenticeship Maryland Program has grown by 245 percent in the number of participating youth apprentices, and 342 percent growth in the number of participating businesses.

High school juniors and seniors in Kent County interested in becoming a youth apprentice may contact Mr. Joseph Keckley at 410-778-4540. Businesses interested in hiring a youth apprentice may contact Jeffrey Smith, Maryland Department of Labor program manager, at 410-767-0227 .

To learn more about the Apprenticeship Maryland Program, visit

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.

Theresa Blaner
Director, Communications and Media Relations

About Kent County Public Schools
The Kent County Public School’s mission is to create a collaborative community of learners by providing a personalized learning experience that inspires students to their highest potential as engaged global citizens. Follow KCPS on Facebook (@) and visit our website.

Dr. Karen M. Couch

About the Maryland State Department of Education
The Maryland State Department of Education is dedicated to supporting a world-class educational system that prepares all students for college and career success in the 21st century. With excellent stewardship from our divisions, we oversee state and federal programs that support the needs of a diverse population–students, teachers, principals, and other educators–throughout Maryland. For updates and information, follow MSDE on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and visit our website.

State Department of Education
William Reinhard