Kansas Governor Laura Kelly visited Garden City High School on April 12 to have a conversation with employees about Garden City USD 457’s Teacher Apprenticeship program.
The program was started in 2019 and works as a joint partnership between Kansas WorkforceONE (a local workforce development board in Western Kansas) and the Kansas Office of Apprenticeship under the Department of Commerce.
The program’s goal is to recruit and train local community members to be teachers in an area where there are dozens of open teacher positions.
Apprenticeship participants can enter the program with only a high school diploma or GED, and then work as a paraprofessional while completing coursework from both Garden City Community College and Wichita State University.
Some participants come right out of high school, but many join as second careers in their 30s and 40s. Twenty-eight participants have started the program; nine have finished and are employed as teachers; three more are ready to start this summer but are on hold because funding has run out for the year.
The program is the first of its kind in Kansas. At the national level, programs like this are being promoted and invested in as part of the solution to build the teacher workforce.