Apprenticeship Maryland Program: Building Skills and Relationships Benefitting Students and Employers Alike 

Planning Assistance in Action 

By Jeffrey Smith, Program Manager for Apprenticeship and Training and Jennifer Runkles, Apprenticeship Navigator, Office of Workforce Development, Maryland Department of Labor, with Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner 

Fig. 1 – Screenshot from the Maryland Apprenticeship Program website showing a group of participating students.

In its role on the Commerce Subcabinet’s Regional Resources Workgroup, the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) collaborates across state agencies to advance economic and community development in the state. The Maryland Department of Labor (Labor) is a prominent workgroup partner, contributing workforce development expertise and resources that are essential for thriving communities.

MDP developed the Placing Jobs webpage as a resource to build on state and local efforts in economic development and to elevate planning as an economic strategy, which helps reinforce Labor’s essential policy – workforce development for Maryland’s youth.  

In the first year the Apprenticeship Maryland Program (AMP) was available in two local school systems, they had 11 youth apprentices and 14 approved employers. Since its inception, the program has grown and is now available in all 24 local school systems, with nearly 600 youth apprentices, and more than 440 approved employers.  

Fig 2. – photo of youth apprentice posing with microscope, courtsey MSDE website.

AMP is an “earn and learn” work model, based on the Registered Apprenticeship Program, which prepares students for the workforce while they earn credits towards high school graduation. While working on the job, employees receive one-on-one full-time training from a skilled craftsperson, as well as related classroom instruction.  

This model is for students in 11th and 12th grades and focuses on high-growth, high-demand industries. While a separate program from Registered Apprenticeship, Maryland’s Youth Apprenticeship system aligns closely with the Registered Apprenticeship model, where applicable. Youth Apprentices receive supervised, structured, on-the-job learning (OJL) from a mentor in a specific in-demand occupation, with a focus on Maryland’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) industry/occupation clusters, as designated by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).1 

Students in Youth Apprenticeship programs work a minimum of 450 hours with an approved employer, while receiving concurrent2 related educational instruction through their high school, community college, online provider, association, Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor, or union, as approved by their local school system. Participating students typically work during their junior and senior years with an employer approved by the Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning (DWDAL)/Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council (MATC).  

With guidance from with their mentors, students can earn:  

  • Industry-recognized credentials; 
  • Post-secondary credentials; or  
  • Industry-recognized experience that will lead to an industry-recognized credential. Students also receive training on employability skills, interpersonal/social skills, and general knowledge related to employment culture and professionalism. 
Fig 3 – Photo of youth apprentices and their instructor examining equipment in an airplan hangar, courtesty MSDE website.

Since 2015, Maryland has invested significant resources facilitating high school student access to an apprenticeship career pathway. By working to connect our young people to these work-based learning opportunities, governments, educational institutions, and businesses have formed a partnership that serves the future needs of all parties. In this manner, high school juniors and seniors can explore career pathways earlier than if they waited until high school graduation. 

Here are a few testimonials from past youth apprentices about their AMP opportunity: 

“I think that for me my youth apprenticeship definitely opened up other opportunities to look into my career choice. It has also taught me some really valuable things about a real work environment.” 

~ Jade Hamelin, Youth Apprentice from Frederick County Public Schools with Frederick Health 

“While working at Baltimore Fab I have had the opportunities to learn many different trades, such as welding, fabricating, polishing, and CAD drawing. These different trades are tickets to different career opportunities and being a part of the Apprenticeship Program will give me a jumpstart for the future by letting me learn and master these trades.” 

~ Sean Morgan, Youth Apprentice from Harford County Public Schools with Baltimore Fabrication 

“For me personally, it has been a great program. The best thing has been the opportunities that Chef Greg has given me, the connections I have been able to make, and just being able to learn from everyone.” 

~ Elmer Martinez, 2020-2021 Youth Apprenticeship Graduate from Talbot County Public Schools now employed full-time for over two years with The Inn at Perry Cabin 

For more information about the AMP program, please visit the Maryland Department of Labor’s Maryland Apprenticeship and Training (MATP) website or contact Jeffrey Smith, Program Manager for Apprenticeship and Training, Office of Workforce and Development, Maryland Department of Labor at 

1 To learn more about Maryland’s Career Clusters, which are centered around topical career paths, (e.g., Arts, Media, and Communications; Health and Biosciences; Information Technology; and more), please visit: 

2 For the purposes of Youth Apprenticeship, MD Labor/MSDE defines concurrent as “existing, happening, or done during the course of an individual’s participation in the program.” In situations where concurrent OJL and Related Instruction are not feasible, Local Education Agencies may request approval from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) for other alternatives, which MSDE may grant, in coordination with MD Labor, on a case-by-case basis. 

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