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Academies at Work: Ozark Launches Official Registered Youth Apprenticeship Program

Ozark Academies steps out of the classroom! Ozark School District is proud to announce the launch of its Registered Youth Apprenticeship program: Academies at Work. 

The program is an extension of Ozark’s Academy Program where students will get hands-on experience in their chosen career pathway while earning school credit and getting paid for their work. 

"Launching our Academies at Work program marks a significant step in preparing our students for the future and exemplifies the goal of our Academy structure,” Assistant Superintendent of Learning Dr. Craig Carson said. “By integrating hands-on experience with academic learning, we're equipping students with the skills and confidence needed to excel in their chosen pathway. This program not only enhances their education but also strengthens our community by fostering a skilled and ready workforce." 

The program, which was approved by the Ozark School Board back in October, was officially launched on May 9 with the signing of its first three apprentices: Jeffrey Edge, Brice Phillips and Jonathon Smith. All three are culinary students and will complete their apprenticeship at Finley Farms working in the Ozark Mill Restaurant kitchen. 

“We want to put our students out in the community to do self-directed work,” Director of Academies Leigh Jennings said. “These students will be working side-by-side with our local business and industry partners, and they will be gaining hands-on technical experience and training in their chosen future career.” 

These three students are the first, of hopefully many, apprentices working in the Ozark community with endless opportunities including some right here in Ozark’s Schools, whether in the classroom or in other departments around the District. And besides benefiting students, this program will also benefit the community.

“There is a dual role that apprenticeships take on,” Jennings said. “They prepare our students for a future career, but they also benefit our community, because they're building a strong workforce within the community and within our businesses.” 

Academies at Work is a partnership with Missouri Registered Youth Apprenticeship. RYA is a statewide collaborative initiative which allows students the opportunity to participate in a structured combination of school-based and work-based learning, according to RYA Coordinator Betty Glasgow.

“It gives students the opportunity to learn while they work and start getting a foot into their career pathway as they proceed in life,” Glasgow said. 

Learn more about Ozark’s Academies

Culinary students signing for the apprenticeship program