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Youth apprenticeship programs across the state receive boost of $2.5 million

A young man in a black sweater and a black baseball cap crouches and works near pipes.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
Ramiro Delgado worked as an apprentice as a high school junior in Indianapolis through the Indy Modern Apprenticeship Program which was launched by Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy in 2020.

Students across the state will have greater access to youth apprenticeship programs through nearly $2.5 million in new grants. Ascend Indiana, the organization that received the grants, expects to nearly double the number of students in its apprenticeship programs with the additional funding.

Ascend Indiana helps organizations start three-year work-based learning apprenticeships for students. The apprenticeships allow students to earn credentials and college credit from a variety of industries.

“They're earning that industry recognized credential that could lead to a middle-class job or obtaining credit through the community college system, thereby making it easier for them to make their way through a two-year degree and then if they choose, on to a four-year degree,” said Jason Kloth, Ascend Indiana president and CEO. “It has a tremendous number of benefits. And today we actually have hundreds more students that are interested in attaining apprenticeships than slots to provide to them.”

Kloth said many people associate apprenticeships with trades. He said trades provide wonderful opportunities for many people, but Indiana also has apprenticeship opportunities in fields like healthcare, IT, business services, life sciences and advanced manufacturing.

“When we think about modern apprenticeship, it is really expansive across all sectors of our economy,” he said.

One of the grants will provide Ascend Indiana with $750,000 to expand four existing apprenticeship programs in south central Indiana, southern Indiana, Hamilton County and Indianapolis. The grant was awarded by the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship.

The other grant totals $1.7 million and was awarded by the Walton Family Foundation. The grant will help Ascend Indiana launch five new apprenticeship programs in Valparaiso, Muncie, Jasper, Crawfordsville and New Albany.

READ MORE: Considering an apprenticeship in Indiana? This guide can help you get started

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Each of the new sites will receive $25,000 to design their youth apprenticeship pilot programs. Ascend Indiana will give some of the sites additional funding to launch their programs. Those sites will become part of the Indiana Youth Apprenticeship Accelerator, Ascend Indiana’s program to expand work-based learning and career readiness throughout the state.

Kloth said the additional funding will cover apprenticeships for students in 46 counties.

He added that Ascend Indiana plans to continue expanding apprenticeship programs by adding new employers, increasing apprenticeship sites and including additional school districts and students.

“It's just incredible to see the momentum that's being built. We now have 500 apprentices currently, but we anticipate adding four to 500 more through these accelerator sites in the coming year as we try to make this a core strategy for our state,” he said.

Kirsten is our education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.

Kirsten the Indiana Public Broadcasting education reporter. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter at @kirsten_adair.