Veronica Flores, 16 (pictured with Dallas College employee Lee Anne Scott, right), says she has honed many new skills during her summer apprenticeship with the Dallas College Facilities Department.
Media Contact: Cherie Yurco;
For immediate release — July 19, 2022
(DALLAS) — Dallas College was the only Texas higher education institution awarded part of a $121.7 million U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Building America grant. Through the $5 million award, Dallas College will strengthen its Workforce Scholars program, providing additional apprenticeships to enable students to find a reliable pathway to the middle class and beyond.
Under the program, students will work 34 hours per week during the summer and 16 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters, earning more than $15 per hour. Dallas College launched its Workforce Scholars pilot program this summer, hiring nine students to work in information technology and facilities within the college.
Veronica Flores, 16, began her facilities apprenticeship in June, and she said it has been an excellent learning experience. She attends Thomas Jefferson High School and will graduate next spring with a high school diploma as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Business from Dallas College.
Flores said she has honed many new skills — filling out work orders, ordering supplies, scanning documents and learning efficient filing practices. “It has also helped me a lot with social skills,” she said. “I meet new people every day, and that is refreshing.”
Though she is still uncertain about what exact career path she will choose, she is certain that this experience will help her feel more confident in her decision. “As a first job, this has been a good professional experience,” she said. Flores said she can see herself working in an office one day in a job that will allow her and her family to live comfortably.
Manuel Martinez, who will be a senior at Bryan Adams High School this fall, is working in the IT apprenticeship program at Dallas College this summer.
Manuel Martinez, who will be a senior at Bryan Adams High School this fall, is working in the IT apprenticeship program at Dallas College this summer. The 18-year-old also attends Dallas ISD’s Career Institute East, where he studies interior design.
He, too, is uncertain what field he will eventually enter. “I’m trying to learn multiple things; I’ve studied architecture, interior design, entrepreneurship, and now I’m learning IT,” he said, adding that he can see himself as an entrepreneur in a field that allows him to use communication skills. In his apprenticeship, he’s learned some coding and rewiring, as well as how to set up student computers.
The $5 million DOL grant will allow Dallas College to scale up the Workforce Scholars program to first involve other workforce partners in the fields of education, manufacturing and hospitality/culinary. Together, they will employ around 1,500 students enrolled in P-TECH and other early college high school programs over four years. Dallas College has received letters of support from a broad range of employers in many industry sectors who wish to eventually take part in the program.
“Early college high school partnerships with local ISDs are an important way in which Dallas College has been preparing the future workforce, and this latest grant from the Department of Labor will allow our dual credit students to get a jump on their education
and earn money at the same time,” said Chancellor Justin Lonon. “These DOL-funded apprenticeships are a prime example of an ‘earn-and-learn’ model that helps fill short-term workforce needs while providing a rich, career-embedded learning opportunity for our students — with some of those job opportunities right here at Dallas College.”
In hospitality and culinary, Steve DeShazo, Dallas College senior director of workforce/career connected learning, said they will leverage relationships with industry and trade organizations, along with hotel and restaurant industry partners, to build an apprenticeship consortium. “We will offer four different apprenticeships. We have a long history of culinary apprenticeship, and we will be adding hotel and restaurant management, as well as brewing.”
“Apprenticeships in the hospitality industry are a natural fit,” said DeShazo. “The Workforce Scholars program combines a nationally recognized curriculum of modern industry instruction with living wage work-based learning along with mentorship by faculty and expert supervisors to create powerful, career-building apprenticeships. Partnerships between Dallas College and industry trade groups, community organizations and employers put the student at the center of this apprenticeship model. It is a game-changing dynamic for success.”
“We have students graduating high school with associate degrees, and while that can be a big advantage, at 18 years old, real-life work experience better prepares them to enter the workforce,” said Gloria Smith, associate vice chancellor of career-connected learning at Dallas College. “Through this grant and the Workforce Scholars program, we can increase the ability of these students to compete in the job market post-graduation, as well as provide a network of support to help them become upwardly mobile in their chosen career field.”
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