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The State Of Maryland's Apprentice Programs Move Into the 21st Century

Published Sunday, September 1, 2019
by Lisa Nevans Locke/
The State Of Maryland's Apprentice Programs Move Into the 21st Century

(TOWSON, MARYLAND) - Six months after graduating from Towson University with a degree in Public Relations, Bilaal Daghar of Baltimore was bartending and looking for a more professional job.  Then a friend told him about an Apprenticeship Program at A Digital Media Firm that would pay him to learn the skills he needed to become a Digital Media Specialist.

Soon, friends were asking Daghar, 26, why he chose to spend his Saturday mornings watching training videos instead of watching soccer with them, as he earned certifications in Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics while working full-time in the Maryland Registered Apprentice program at Zest Social Media Solutions in Towson.

The word “Apprentice” conjures up images of age-old professions like masonry or carpentry, but Maryland’s two Apprenticeship Programs are offering more than 10,000 teens and adults opportunities in 21st Century fields like information technology, health care, cybersecurity, biotechnology and hospitality along with more traditional areas.

Meanwhile, State Government is expanding its teen program this year.

Apprentices study under a mentor, work full-time for pay, and take classes at a local community college, on-site, or, in the spirit of the 21st Century model, on-line.

“It’s a ‘shift in the mindset’ of what an Apprenticeship is,” said Christopher MacLarion, who serves as the Director of the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program for the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation. “It’s ‘not just what your parents and grandparents looked at.’”

This Fall, the State will expand Apprenticeship Maryland, its Youth Apprentice Program, from three counties to 12 counties plus Baltimore City, where school systems will let students earn high school credit for their Apprenticeships.

The Registered Apprentice Program for adults operates statewide.

Apprentices in both programs are paid for their work.

The State’s slogan is “Earn While You Learn.”

Maryland’s Registered Apprenticeship Program aims to help employers stymied by labor shortages or unimpressed with the skills of some college graduates to find and train qualified Employees, while offering Workers 18 or older an alternative pathway to college.

For the second year in a row, more than 10,000 adults are Registered Apprentices, MacLarion said.

Employers say the program offers a clear pathway for Apprentices - with each step clearly laid out, including required classes and scheduled pay raises.

Registered Apprentices complete up to 3,000 hours of job-related training while working full-time in a program of one to four years created by the employer and approved by the State.

Businesses can receive an income tax credit of $1,000 per eligible adult apprentice.

They can be reimbursed by the State for up to 50% of the cost of Apprentices’ education through the Maryland Business Works Program and a $7 million Federal Grant to expand Apprenticeships throughout the State.

Apprentice wages may start at 50% to 80% of a Journeyman’s, then rise as they gain skills.

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