Pre-apprenticeships offer workforce experience to dual credit students

When Adrian Moreno graduated from Channelview High School in May 2022, he had already earned his associate degree in electrical technology through a pre-apprenticeship from San Jacinto College, and secured a telecommunication apprenticeship with Pfeiffer and Sons Ltd.

“I’ve been working towards these goals for two years,” Moreno said. “I was determined to show everyone that I could stick to it and make it happen, but I didn’t do it alone.”

The groundwork for Moreno’s pre-apprenticeship began in 2016 when Dr. Sarah Janes, San Jac associate vice chancellor for continuing and professional development, was asked by the Department of Labor to facilitate a committee including community colleges, industry, and school districts. This committee’s original charge was to review the DOL Registered Apprenticeship Evaluation Process and to compare the requirements for instructors of registered apprenticeship programs with those of community college instructors.

Since that time the committee has grown along with its mission. Today, the Houston Area Apprenticeship Advisory Committee seeks to educate high school students and others about apprenticeships, to encourage more companies to develop apprenticeships, and to develop crosswalks recognized across the state that move completers of apprenticeships into associate degree programs.

“Channelview High School was one of the first schools to join our apprenticeship committee,” Dr. Janes said. “They were an early adopter of pre-apprenticeship programs and eager to learn more to offer these opportunities to their students, and it has paid off wonderfully.”

Now, through funding from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Janes leads a team of college faculty, staff, and industry experts to manage Registered Apprenticeship Programs in 11 areas: carpentry, electrical technician, HVAC, machinists, masonry, mechatronics, millwright, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal workers, and welding.

Each Registered Apprenticeship Program can offer an accompanying pre-apprenticeship that creates a starting point toward a successful career path for under-represented job seekers.

Moreno is the first student to complete the program and accept a telecommunication apprenticeship. Through the partnership with Channelview High School, Moreno worked closely with career and technical education counselors who monitored his progress and provided resources to pay for books and other expenses.

“We are very thankful for the opportunities provided to us from San Jac and Pfeiffer,” said Mia Young, director of CTE, Channelview HS. “This is exactly what we want to give to the students in our CTE program. All the work that Adrian put in while in high school and enrolled in dual credit has come to this, and it’s his time to shine. We are very proud.”

To celebrate the success of the program and commemorate the first pre-apprenticeship through this partnership, the College and high school came together for a ceremonial signing with Moreno and Pfeiffer and Sons.

Moreno sat alongside Nicole Matthiesen from Pfeiffer and his mother, Maria, to mark the important moment.

“We received Adrian’s resume, and we could see that he was ambitious and ready to work,” Matthiesen said. “He’s always on time, early even, and you don’t always see that today. We’ve been excited to offer this partnership for Adrian and other students in the future.”

Charles Pfeiffer, president of Pfeiffer and Sons, has worked with San Jac and Channelview HS to create a smooth transition into the workforce for students in the pre-apprenticeship program.

“With partners like Pfeiffer and supportive school districts, the pre-apprenticeships can be abundantly successful,” Janes said. “I look forward to how these partnerships grow in the future.”