FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky officials on Tuesday unveiled a new apprenticeship program to hire and train more social workers.
The unique initiative offers paid apprenticeship opportunities in local Protection and Permanency and Family Support offices within the Department for Community Based Services, part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
It is geared toward young adults who are interested in pursuing a career in social services but may not have the opportunity to go to college, have never considered secondary education, or are impacted by generational poverty.
The pilot program began earlier this year as a co-op for high school students interested in social services careers. Curriculum will require a minimum of 144 classroom and 2,000 to 3,000 on-the-job training hours per year and will include opportunities in Frankfort and across the state.
In addition to mid-career professionals, the program will be available to both high school and college students, and eligible high school juniors and seniors may enroll in the Department of Education’s Tech Ready Apprenticeship for Careers in Kentucky program, or TRACK, to obtain postsecondary credits while earning an apprenticeship wage.
“We will have students in Bourbon, Calloway, Clay, Floyd, Jefferson and Kenton counties,” said Laura Arnold, associate commissioner for the Office of Career and Technical Services in the state Department of Education. “These students will have a great opportunity to receive an advanced credential, while living in their home community.”
According to Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey, candidates must be creative to solve the shortage of social workers in Kentucky. “We have to think differently than the way we thought before,” he said.
“Simply put, apprenticeships within state government have the potential to bring important long-term cost savings to Kentucky taxpayers,” Ramsey said. “Apprenticing social services positions at the DCBS is only the beginning for implementing this training model in other agencies. Today’s announcement is a huge victory for children and families across the commonwealth.”
TRACK students and apprentices will have the option of choosing from one of three different positions within the Protection and Permanency and Family Support offices: Office Manager/Administrative Services, Human Social Services, and Human Family Services. Participants will acquire working knowledge of each role through guided learning and rotations through each function area and position.
Interested Kentucky high school juniors and seniors can contact guidance counselors to the begin the process of applying for Fall 2018 semester apprenticeships.