JCPS celebrates launch of apprenticeship program, expansion of Academies partnerships

Initiative marks significant successes after just one year

On January 18, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) celebrated the launch of its new apprenticeship program, as it showcased its growing partnerships with local businesses after just one year of the Academies of Louisville initiative.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and our district,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said of the apprenticeship program, which the Jefferson County Board of Education approved in December 2018. “These apprenticeships earn students a decent wage, valuable industry experience, and the opportunity to get their foot in the door with a potential employer.  And they offer JCPS the chance to develop and possibly hire our own home-grown talent.” 

Dr. Pollio and Secretary Ramsey hold a plaque. Mayor Fischer, Christy Rogers and Kent Oyler stand beside them.

The JCPS Apprenticeship Program offers registered apprenticeships in more industry sectors than any other program sponsor in Kentucky. The 10 sectors offer opportunities in a broad scope of fields ranging from early childcare and graphic design to diesel mechanic, information technology and culinary arts.

As part of the celebration, 14 students – one from every Academies school – highlighted the job opportunities they have through work-based learning options.

"I get to put the skills I'm learning in the classroom to good use -- skills like business communication, collaboration, and real-world problem solving,” said Valley High School senior Ce’Drina Freeman, who recently started an apprenticeship with Hyland Insurance.  “This apprenticeship will be life-changing, and I am thankful for the opportunity.”

The event also showcased the expansion of business partnerships within the Academies of Louisville.  In its first year, the number of business partners has grown from 13 to more than 100, and the number of unique career pathways offered has grown to 53.

Male student speaks using a microphone on stage. Seven students stand next to him.
“I’m so excited and proud that we have such a strong commitment from the community for the Academies of Louisville,” said Christy Rogers, assistant superintendent for transition readiness.  “Our students are gaining relevant, real-world experience and training in jobs that are in demand not just in Louisville but across the country.  And when they graduate they’ll have the skills and confidence needed to launch careers in their chosen field.”

The Academies of Louisville have grown to include a total of 17,600 students at 14 JCPS high schools. The Academies provide an innovative community approach to workforce development in order to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. 

“It is vital that our kids be skilled for the jobs of the future today, and that takes business involvement in our public schools,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc.  “Greater Louisville Inc. is proud to play a role in connecting businesses to JCPS so that students and teachers are exposed to real-world work experiences, resulting in better prepared and more motivated graduates.”

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