Nevada Apprenticeship Council adds teacher apprenticeship program

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File image of classroom(Credit: Pixabay via MGN)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 9:30 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Nevada Forward Initiative, a program for teacher apprenticeships at the University of Nevada Las Vegas College of Education has been added to the Nevada State Apprenticeship Council.

The Nevada Forward Initiative provides a comprehensive and inclusive approach to addressing critical shortages in our state’s education workforce,” said UNLV President Keith Whitfield. “This teacher apprenticeship program - which will be the first of its kind in the western U.S. - is an important step forward for Nevada and positions both our state and university as national leaders in education workforce innovation.”

Since inception, more than 460 paraprofessionals, long-term substitutes, and other school support staff are either licensed teachers or are on track to become licensed teachers while maintaining their employment and earning bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

There are currently 225 graduates working in southern Nevada classrooms and 235 students in the program’s current cohort.

About 70% of program students are from historically marginalized groups, developing a pipeline of teachers that help meet the needs of the state’s diverse student populations.

Currently, the largest employer of graduating students from the program is the Clark County School District.

The program is structured to meet the needs of those who are already working in schools by offering combinations of in-person and online courses scheduled in four-to-eight-week intervals.

Nevada Forward students receive extensive coaching, mentoring, and professional development support before, during, and for three years afterward. These supports have proven crucial to the program’s success thus far, with a 92% graduation rate.

Registering as a state apprenticeship program now allows UNLV to apply for competitive grant funding opportunities that were not otherwise available.

According to State Apprenticeship Director Toni Giddens, the goal is to continue to add teacher apprenticeship programs throughout the state and help grow this alternative pathway for individuals looking to take the next step of their careers into the classroom.

“Workforce development through alternative pathways to professional licensure is critical to help fill the employment gaps in our educational institutions,” Giddens said. “School support staff, already part of a school community, have a roadmap toward teacher licensure that will allow them to continue supporting the education and growth of the students they interact with every day.”