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National Apprenticeship Week - Forest City

Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Editor’s note: To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we are highlighting several successful Registered Apprenticeship programs across the state. Work-based learning opportunities, including Registered Apprenticeships, help provide hands-on career exploration and training for high school students in Iowa. Through these opportunities, students are able to experience a wide variety of career fields from advanced manufacturing to health care to information technology. These valuable experiences also align with the Future Ready Iowa goal of having 70 percent of Iowans with education and training beyond high school by 2025. National Apprenticeship Week runs Nov. 15-21 and is an annual event.

Today’s highlight features the Registered Apprenticeship program at Forest City Community School District. Principal Ken Baker discussed opportunities provided through their program and shared his thoughts on why apprenticeships are important for Iowa.

Tell us a little about the Registered Apprenticeship program that you offer to high school students. In particular, please share details on your engineer assistant opportunity.
Forest City Community High School (FCHS) has developed a relationship with Winnebago Industries to offer students exposure to the field of engineering. This paid apprenticeship would work in conjunction with a student’s typical school day and afford them the opportunity to continue the apprenticeship over summer break. As the students continue to grow in their education (secondary and postsecondary), the responsibilities that the student encounters will continue to grow.

What type of student is a good candidate for an apprenticeship program?
Any student who has an interest in the field of engineering or STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) in general would be a terrific candidate for this apprenticeship.

Why are apprenticeships important for strengthening Iowa’s workforce?
Apprenticeships give students the opportunity to connect content to real-world applications. I also believe that the apprenticeships allow students to ‘test drive’ potential career paths.

What advantages do businesses have for sponsoring student apprenticeships?
The company has an opportunity to team with the local school district to home grow future employees.

How did you build relationships with business sponsors?
Winnebago Industries and the Forest City CSD have had a long-standing relationship. Winnebago Industries has been very approachable concerning partnerships with FCHS and the community.

What tips would you give to other schools/businesses that are looking to add an apprenticeship program to their work-based learning opportunities?
Keep opening doors. Work-based learning opportunities will only enhance a student’s educational experience.