New apprenticeship program expands career opportunities for Eldon high school students

The Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Program is partnering with the Eldon Career Center to help students prepare for a career after high school.

The program is aiming to place students in training while they are still in high school, so they can learn a trade while working. Many students in the Eldon community are at or below the poverty level, so attending a college or university is not feasible. By implementing this program, the Eldon School District hopes to offer more options for students who will not pursue a four-year degree.

For students who still might want to go to a college or university, dual credit is offered through the program. The district works with several local employers, such as Quaker Windows and Doors and Adient. Quaker Windows and Doors is building a manufacturing plant in Eldon, which is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the community.

What makes this program unique is that there are not many apprenticeship programs for secondary schools.

To be eligible for this program, students must meet certain requirements. A C+ grade point average or above and 95 percent attendance or better is required. Eldon Career Center director Kelli Engelbrecht said much thought goes into the process of choosing which students get accepted into the program. 

“We pair up students who show aptitude and great interest and want to do this in the future,” Engelbrecht said.

The program offers three different learning environments: in the classroom, on the jobsite, or in a lab, all of which can be eligible for hours. From welding to computer science to manufacturing, there is a plethora of hands-on activities to choose from.

Once the students complete the program, they will earn a certification in their chosen occupation. Although the program pairs students with local employers, the certification is nationally recognized. The minimum number of hours required to receive a certification is 2,000 hours, but the students can earn up to 8,000 hours of work.

This program will bring more career readiness to Eldon, and it has the potential to put the students on a fast track towards success.

“Our apprentices are piloting the future of career readiness right here in the heart of America, Eldon and Camdenton, Missouri,” said Cynthia Walker, MORAP grant coordinator.