Wyoming High Schooler Finds Career Path Through Learning

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By Renée Jean, business and tourism journalist
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Not knowing what to do with the rest of your life is a common problem for high schoolers, something Marko Glassock knows all too well.

He got help determining his options through an apprenticeship program at his school.

The Buffalo teenager testified this week before Wyoming lawmakers at a meeting of the Joint Committee on Minerals, Business and Economic Development about why he thinks apprenticeship programs like Work Smart should be in each school district.

“I was lucky to have a teacher willing to help me through this process of finding my dream job,” he said. “During the first semester of Working Smart, I took dozens of surveys to find my interests that might relate to a certain profession.”

A step ahead

The outcome of the process turned out to be quite different from what he expected, Glassock said.

Throughout his high school career, he said he always thought of himself as a farm shop and carpentry kid. But through job shadowing opportunities, he realized there was a profession he found much more exciting.

Now he has decided to become an electrician and wants to start his own business in Wyoming.

“At the end of my semester, I would go to job sites and get paid to help with the work that I was allowed to do,” he told lawmakers. “I got a summer job while I was getting my first electrician apprentice card. »

A clear path

Now a senior at Buffalo High School, Glassock said he was beginning the process of on-the-job training and taking online courses, which his boss helped him identify, best suited his goals.

Once he graduates, he’ll be ready to take his journeyman’s exam, after which he’ll pursue a master’s degree, and then he’ll be ready to break out his own shingle as a certified electrician in Wyoming.

“I love being a farm shop kid, I also love building stuff at the stake,” he said. “And I was kind of clueless about what I wanted to do, and I had several ideas, but I really had no idea until I had the opportunity to go and experience some things from everyday working life with those in my community who do. participate in these activities.


Buffalo High School senior Marko Glassock, left, testifies to the benefits of apprenticeship programs for the Legislative Joint Committee on Minerals, Business and Economic Development.

Limited opportunities

Not all Wyoming students have access to the same orientation and learning programs as Glassock. While some districts have strong apprenticeship programs, others offer nothing at all.

“Honestly, it becomes an equity issue,” said Wyoming Director of Careers and Technical Education Dr. Michelle Aldrich. “When we have districts where students are allowed to earn up to three elective credits toward graduation through work experience and (then) we have districts that don’t allow anything.”

The program Glassock attended is not part of the state’s official student learning agreements. This is an example of how the state underutilizes its resources to develop its own workforce.

“There’s a lot of work-based learning going on in the state where that opportunity or that resource isn’t being fully utilized,” Aldridge said. “I just visited a colleague in the Department of Workforce Services this morning to find out how many student apprenticeship agreements were and how many districts have used this opportunity.

“And I’m told that since its inception, there has been one district and one student who has actually completed this form, even though we have spoken to all 48 districts about it.”

Equal training

Cindy DeLancey, president of the Wyoming Business Alliance, echoed Aldrich’s concerns about fairness.

“Every child in the state should have the opportunity to earn credit for workplace learning, regardless of the impact on other programs in the district,” she told the committee. “It shouldn’t be driving how our districts make decisions.

“We should be student-focused and work to develop our workforce so that Wyoming can remain a leader in the country and in the region, so that we can employ and keep our children here for future generations. »

Both Delancey and Aldrich told lawmakers they believe the Schools Apprenticeship and Skills Training Advancement Bill is a good start to leveling out opportunities across the state while empowering all The parties involved.

“I know there’s still a lot of work to do,” DeLancey said. “But if that’s what it takes to help us walk down this path, my members really want to see that level of clarity, accountability, and accountability for all parties in this conversation, not just state agencies. , districts or department.

“You know, everyone equally shares the role, the lift here, to really get us over the finish line.”

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