Deborah Karson @deobrahjkarson
Invest in the Future
Apprentice Learning provides real-world work experiences for middle school students. We leverage career exploration to teach skills and to nurture dreams.
“Apprenticing at Frugal Bookstore helped me learn work ethic and taught me to work smarter. Being on time, working hard and not complaining are important. Mrs. Egerton, you worked me to the bone but it made sense because you worked hard too. I will always remember you saying, “You can’t half-do anything. You have to finish what you started.” Aneshia, eighth grader, apprentice at Frugal Bookstore
Career education has proven to be an effective way of exposing young people to a wide variety of opportunities and can positively impact their graduation from high school and long-term employment prospects.
Since 2012, we have provided career skills and experiences for over 900 eighth graders who attend Boston Public Schools. The program demographics mirror the population of the students enrolled in Boston Public Schools. Ninety percent of students identify as non-white and the majority are from under-resourced communities. Many are English Language Learner students.
Learn to Earn
We provide youth with a successful first work experience that builds confidence and competence, and prepares students for meaningful, paid employment before they enter high school. On average, 40% of eighth graders who complete an apprenticeship land a paying summer job before high school.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted all of our programs to a virtual format. This has meant working with a smaller cohort of businesses that have the capacity to virtually explore their workplace purpose and culture. For all of us, this has been a very creative process involving the active participation of our youth. We have been pleased with the new ways we have imagined the world of work.
In the near future, we hope to return to in person programming with over 70 participating business partners.
Virtual programs have been adapted from our menu of in person experiences. These include one-day workplace explorations, a six-session, weekly apprenticeship, and a five-week summer career internship program where youth learn concrete self-presentation and communication skills, gain insights about their individual learning styles, identify their signature strengths, and explore career interests.
In 2020-2021, 179 eighth graders across 5 schools participated in virtual apprenticeships with 17 workplaces in greater Boston.
Mill River Foundation
Northeastern University Office of
City & Community Service
Orville F. Forté Charitable Trust
St. Paul’s Church
The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation
Vanderbilt Family Foundation
Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation
Wild Geese Foundation
Women4Progress Charitable Trust
Deborah Karson for her photography (@deborahjkarsonphotography)