May 15, 2018
Interested high school juniors and seniors can sign up for new program training them for Social work positions
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – The state of Ky. has established an innovative new registered apprenticeship pilot program aimed at strengthening social services careers throughout Kentucky.
Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey, Health and Family Services Acting Secretary Scott Brinkman and several other officials joined Gov. Matt Bevin Tuesday to launch the program, which will provide increased opportunities for individuals pursuing a social services career in state government, according to a state news release.
One of the first of its kind in the country, the initiative will offer paid apprenticeship opportunities in local Protection and Permanency and Family Support offices within DCBS, part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).
The program will offer apprenticeships to young adults who are interested in pursuing a career in social services but may not have the opportunity to go to college, have never considered secondary education, or are impacted by generational poverty.
The pilot program began earlier this year as a co-op for high school students interested in social services careers. Curriculum will require a minimum of 144 classroom and 2,000 to 3,000 on-the-job training hours per year and will include opportunities within DCBS offices in Frankfort and across the state.
DCBS Commissioner Adria Johnson said the apprenticeship program is an innovative way to equip students with the tools they need to begin social services careers.
Johnson said the apprenticeship program will help DCBS to train and retain social services staff by removing the barriers to education and training that some applicants may face. She said the program will ensure high standards for new employees who work directly with families.
“When P-12 education works together with postsecondary education and business, or in this case state government, we can pave the pathway for student’s to have successful careers after high school,” Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said. “Through the TRACK program, students get a head start on college by taking dual credit courses while still in high school; they gain on-the-job work experience that will make them more valuable in the workplace and provide employers with qualified workers; and they can earn a paycheck that can support additional education and training. This opportunity is a win for everyone involved.”
The unique partnership between the TRACK program and the state allows students interested in a social services career to gain experience while they are obtaining their formal education and enables DCBS to train the workforce of tomorrow while providing opportunities to current students.
As the demand for skilled public employees increases, the Personnel Cabinet is looking to apprenticeships to create a pipeline for entry-level workers in a variety of areas, and the model used by DCBS can be replicated across state government agencies.
Dr. Robert Lerman, an Institution Fellow at the Urban Institute, professor of economics at American University, and one of the nation’s leading experts on apprenticeships, has long advocated for increased public investment into the apprenticeship model and praised the announcement.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers gain $1.47 in return through increased productivity, reduced waste, and greater front-line innovation.
“Simply put, apprenticeships within state government have the potential to bring important long-term cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers,” Ramsey said in the release. “Apprenticing social services positions at the DCBS is only the beginning for implementing this training model in other agencies. Today’s announcement is a huge victory for children and families across the Commonwealth.”
Interested Kentucky high school juniors and seniors can contact their guidance counselors to the begin the process of applying for Fall 2018 semester apprenticeships.