Apprenticeships give students opportunity

North Platte Public Schools Superintendent Ron Hanson, right, signs the apprenticeship program agreement Thursday with the U.S. Department of Labor, represented by Debra Cremeens-Risinger, and the Nebraska Department of Labor, represented by Scott Asmus.

North Platte Public Schools’ initiatives are opening opportunities for students in the job market.

On Thursday, representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor and Nebraska Department of Labor signed an agreement with the school district for the Youth Intermediary Registered Apprenticeship Program.

“We have a K-12 Career and College Readiness Initiative with all of our students,” Superintendent Ron Hanson said. “We want to start at a very young age to bring awareness to our elementary students.”

He said the initiative continues through middle school and high school.

“In our middle school students, we want to bring exploration,” Hanson said. “And then for our high school students, we want the opportunity for experience. The internship and the apprentice programs give that opportunity.”

Educators and business leaders from throughout the state attended the ceremony that touted the program at NPPS.

“We’ve said it a number of times today and I’m going to repeat, North Platte is a forward-thinking high school,” said Debra Cremeens-Risinger of the U.S. Department of Labor. “Through this, it’s going to give a lot of students some great opportunities. They will be able to earn while they learn.”

The objective, Cremeens-Risinger said, is to keep the skills in the state.

“Nebraska is a great place and you guys produce wonderful employees, which is why Nebraska is a great place for companies to come harvest your individuals,” Cremeens-Risinger said. “We don’t want to be a ‘harvesting’ state. We want these individuals to stay here and live here for a good long time and be able to have a good life. This is a great tool for that.”

NPPS has enlisted the cooperation of 65 business partners in the internship and apprentice programs. The businesses were “very receptive” to the program, Hanson said.

“None of this could happen without having the support of the community,” Hanson said. “That was one of my biggest goals was to bring the community around us because we can’t do this job by ourselves.”

Scott Asmus represented the Nebraska Department of Labor, and other local officials participated in the ceremony as well, including Mayor Dwight Livingston.

The apprenticeship program will connect students with businesses that align with their interests. It will give those students the opportunity to learn whether their current interests match their abilities and personal makeup.

Another piece of the puzzle, Hanson said, is the addition of career coach Adam Reed. He said Reed’s skill set as an Air Force recruiter positions him well to guide students into areas where they will perform best.

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