California adding apprenticeships to teacher recruitment toolbox

  • by:
  • Source: EdSource
  • 02/10/2024
Apprenticeships are being added to the long list of initiatives California has undertaken in recent years to address its enduring teacher shortage. State leaders hope that the free or reduced-priced tuition and steady salary that generally accompany apprenticeships will encourage more people to become teachers.

Apprentices complete their bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program while working as a member of the support staff at a school. They gain clinical experience at work while taking courses to earn their teaching credentials.

“It opens up the pipeline to teaching for folks who are hired into the school district,” said Joe Ross, president of Reach University, a nonprofit that operates a teacher apprenticeship program. “We have people at Reach who are in positions such as janitors, working in the lunchroom, working in the office. The majority are teacher’s aides, but you have this entirely larger, until now, really overlooked pool.”

California has joined 30 other states that have committed to launching registered teacher apprenticeship programs at the encouragement of the federal government. Last July, the Labor Department developed new national guidelines and standards for registered apprenticeship programs for K-12 teachers and provided funding to develop and expand programs. Twenty states have already started registered teacher apprenticeship programs.

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