FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - As parents of teens we sometimes feel we have two careers. One takes the majority of our time, efforts and resources and the other is the job we drive to each day to make a living. Raising teens is no nine-to-fiver and when it comes to helping plan for their future or attempting to provide direction, as parents, we would love to give them some real experiences.

Wouldn't it be great to make a real impression on a teen of what it's like to be employed' Help them find something that inspires them, at least long enough to learn a skill or feel the satisfaction and importance of just having a job in today's economy' To put a new twist on the old song "parents -teens just don't understand'"

At the Fort Wainwright Army Child, Youth and School Services', workforce preparation specialist Terry Duncan is working hard to provide just that kind of understanding for teens.

The HIRED! Apprenticeship Program is set up to enroll teens in a work apprenticeship with local post agencies, providing valuable work experience in an apprentice's particular area of interest. "The program is designed to expose high school students to the workplace so they can gain valuable employment skills, " Duncan said. "Each student will work 180 hours in a three-month period. They are expected to work a relatively regular schedule each week. This can be a combination of weekday and weekend hours, but it is contingent on the workplace's hours of operations." The program is open to the teens of active and retired Army, between the ages of 15 and 18. "If they're almost 15, they can attend the pre-training classes in order to be ready to participate as 15 year olds." said Duncan.

After enrollment in the program, a process of pre-training begins. Students will go through background checks, explore their particular interests and aptitudes and then begin classes to prepare them to enter into their work areas. "The apprentice will attend at least six hours of pre-placement classes relating to employment," said Duncan. The pre-classes will provide many skills such as resume writing, interviewing skills and dressing for success as well as financial management and work place behavior.

Duncan said she plans to work with the apprentices to find suitable job placements that match their skill sets and ideas. Just as important as preparing the teens for work will be the enrolling and education of the mentors. Before having any apprentices in the work area, they too will receive classes on the program's goals; understanding the extent of work the apprentices would be responsible for, what proficiency and skill levels will be attained and how to track their progress. Duncan plans to make weekly visits with mentors at their work places, checking on the apprentices' growth and help in the planning of their job skill development.

As they progress throughout the 12-week program, apprentices will continue to attend education classes, be provided guidance and answers to questions that might arise during their experiences in the work area. These class hours will be added to the total work hours needed to complete the three-month, 180-hour program. Upon successfully completing the program they receive a stipend of $500 for their efforts.

The HIRED! Apprenticeship Program is an opportunity for valuable hands-on experience. Discovering a real work environment, experiencing the demands and rewards of what it's like to have a job.

If you have any questions about the HIRED! Apprenticeship Program; as a parent, teen or you are considering being a mentor; please call Terry Duncan at the 907-361-4473 for more information.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16