WVDE announces teacher preparation pathway now a Registered Apprenticeship Program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The State of West Virginia is now officially one of only a few states in the nation to designate a teacher preparation pathway as a Registered Apprenticeship Program.

The West Virginia Board of Education and West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced at the state WVBE meeting Wednesday that the Department of Education’s Grow Your Own Pathway to Teaching Initiative is now a Registered Apprenticeship with the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to the WVDE, the apprenticeship designation elevates the department’s initiative with wage-earning field experiences beginning the junior year of high school and continuing through the student’s final year of college.

“Students will be able to earn duel credits while juniors and seniors in high school and then accelerate their studies into the next two years as they also get the chance to learn the skills and trade, while earning a paycheck,” David Rogers, with the West Virginia Department of Commerce said during the meeting.

State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch says a current shortage of 1,200 certified educators in public schools will increase over the next several years in West Virginia.

The Pathway to Teaching Initiative allows high school students to complete college-level course work and graduate with a year of college already completed. Additionally, students may finish high school with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Teacher Aide certification, a release said.

“This program can help develop a pipeline of teachers from the community, for the community for those who are eager to pursue education as a profession,” Carla Warren, Director of Educator Development and Support Services for WVDE said.

Warren added high school students can begin the Pathway to Teaching Initiative this fall in 27 counties piloting the initiative. The pilot will partner with 13 institutions of higher education in West Virginia.

“This partnership reflects the support behind our efforts to address the teacher shortage in West Virginia because this is not just an education issue, it affects all aspects of our state,” said Superintendent Burch in a release. “The Department has built this scalable program to strengthen our teacher preparation efforts in real-time because we don’t have the luxury of time to get more highly qualified teachers into the classroom.”

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