Youth Apprenticeship



Youth apprenticeships are work-based learning programs designed for high school students. They generally incorporate the key elements of the standard apprenticeship model, including paid workplace experience and related technical instruction.

Youth apprenticeships vary widely and may include elements of Registered Apprenticeships, nonregistered apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship programs. Partners from a variety of sectors are often engaged in the design and implementation of youth apprenticeships.

Organizations that may get involved include employers, community-based organizations, high schools, and postsecondary institutions—which may offer dual-enrollment opportunities to participants.

Youth apprenticeships provide opportunities for high school students to experience, and gain skills in, a real work environment. Simultaneously, they give businesses a chance to inspire and develop a new generation of talent.

To help advance youth apprenticeship, JFF is a member of the Partnership to Advance Youth America (PAYA), an initiative led by New America. The organizations involved in PAYA believe youth apprenticeship has the potential to transform how the nation’s education system prepares young people for careers and adulthood. PAYA is studying best practices in youth apprenticeship programs across the country and has developed a list of five characteristics of high-quality youth apprenticeships that meet the needs of all stakeholders—above all, the learners.

PAYA’s Defining Principles for High-Quality Youth Apprenticeship

  • Career-oriented: Learning is structured around knowledge, skills, and competencies that lead to careers with family-supporting wages.
  • Equitable: Learning is accessible to every student, with targeted supports for those adversely impacted by long-standing inequities in our education system and labor market.
  • Portable: Learning leads to postsecondary credentials and transferable college credits that expand options for students.
  • Adaptable: Learning is designed collaboratively to be recognized and valued across an industry or sector.
  • Accountable: Student, employer, and program outcomes are monitored using transparent metrics to support improvement.

Visit JFF's Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning

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Youth Apprenticeship: A Pathway to Earn & Learn

PAYA has created this infographic to help visualize the potential journey of a youth apprentice through high school into post-secondary education and a fulfilling career in the student’s chosen field.


Download the infographic >