Get ready for the world of work
Europe's apprenticeship model comes to Pasco County next year as five key area manufacturers will join forces with River Ridge High's new engineering career academy to provide students real-world experiences while still in school.
Coastal Caisson, Micron Pharmaworks, Jabil Circuit, Nielsen Co. and Pall Aeropower all plan to welcome students in the River Ridge academy, as well as expand their apprenticeship offerings for East Lake High's Academy of Engineering, East Lake teacher J. Paul Wahnish of the nonprofit Career Technical Education Foundation told the Gradebook. (That's a 2004 picture of Wahnish teaching on the left.)
"The idea is to start a program of internships starting in the 10th grade," Wahnish, who organized the initiative, explained.
By the time graduation rolls around, students will have had three six-week apprenticeships, received industry certifications in CAD and other applications, and be ready to either go to work or enroll in a university program. The concept is based on Apprenticeship 2000, Wahnish said, and employs the Project Lead the Way curriculum.
He expected the program to be successful enough that other companies soon will want to join the effort.
Pasco School Board chairwoman Kathryn Starkey, who has coordinated with Wahnish to bring the concept to Pasco, figured the model eventually would extend to other career academies as they grow.
"I think the possibilities are huge for our students," Starkey told the Gradebook.
The players plan to have a press conference later today.