BHS apprenticeship program turns 20

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2015

By Taylor Bush

The end of 2014 marked the 20th year that Bainbridge High School has offered the Youth Apprenticeship Work- Based Learning Program to its students. The Work-Based Learning Program is a system in place for juniors and seniors with an 80 GPA or above, good attendance, and a clean disciplinary record. The students who meet these qualifications and wish to explore their future careers are offered the opportunity to participate in Work-Based Learning.
One of the portions of the Work-Based Learning Program is the grant-funded Youth Apprenticeship Program.  The Youth Apprenticeship Program allows students to attend volunteer partnerships in the community to earn experience, mentoring, a high school class credit and most often, a salary. Employers that accept student apprentices from BHS vary from many different career fields including, but not limited to, accounting, banking, business technology, computer technology, law studies, education/teaching, forestry, health occupations, and technology. Before applying to the program, a student must decide what career field they wish to continue education in after high school and complete at least one core class offered at BHS that correlates with that career field. An employer within the Bainbridge community that fits a student’s post-graduation goals is then paired with that student. Maci Barber is a junior that holds an apprentice position at Rx Drugs, and she exclaims, “The program has really helped me see what it is I will be doing as an adult if I pursue this career. It has given me a good idea of what my future might hold for me.”
The Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Bainbridge High School is Dr. Lisa Jeter. Doctor Jeter is also the Chairperson for the BHS Business Department, and teaches Introduction To and Advanced Digital Designs, Introduction To and Advanced Business and Technology, Web Design, and Contemporary Issues in Education. This is her second year as the Apprenticeship Coordinator. Doctor Jeter is very passionate about the program. “The Youth Apprenticeship Program is a fantastic experience for me because I get to see the students excited about the things they learned at their work sites. I love when a student realizes that what they are doing really is significant,” she says.
Students involved in the Youth Apprenticeship Program may be an apprentice from 2 to 4 semesters of high school. The students are required to check in and out with Dr. Lisa Jeter every day and to build a portfolio before the end of each semester. The portfolio is made up of work reports, reference letters, resume, and sample work the students have completed as well as employer evaluations. After graduation, the former student apprentices are “tracked” by the Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator to check on the progress that student has made in their chosen career field.
The goal of the Youth Apprenticeship Program is to help students explore their desired careers while earning high school credit. Dr. Lisa Jeter says, “Getting to experience this before college could save the students a lot of time in deciding what they want to be as an adult.” The student apprentices strive to complete a credential required by their career of choice by completing a certain number of supervised hours. Many have achieved this goal over the years.
The Youth Apprenticeship Program at BHS currently has students shadowing at B & G Management, Bainbridge Medical Associates, Bainbridge Pharmacy, Bella’s Boutique, Decatur County Board of Education, Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, Flint River Outfitters, In the Garden, Memorial Hospital and Manor, Memorial Pediatrics, Office of District Attorney Joseph K. Mulholland, Precision Audio, RX Drugs, Regional Therapy Services, Shaw Industry, Southern Orthopedic Specialists, Inc, and The Smith Group.
BHS is grateful for these partnerships that offer such wonderful opportunities for the students. Additional volunteer employers are encouraged by Doctor Jeter to get involved with the program and to contact her by email at All participants of the program would like to thank Superintendent Dr. Fred Rayfield, Principal Tommie Howell, and CTAE Director Vonda Hubbard for their constant support and guidance. The Youth Apprenticeship program plans to continue making high school students’ dreams tangible.

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