Indiana Apprenticeship Initiative Win-Win for Students, Employers

Central Indiana students begin their Modern Apprenticeship work as high school juniors, and they are paid for learning on the job in high-demand career fields. (Ascend Indiana/EmployIndy)

An Indiana program is helping high school students find more pathways to high-paying jobs by bridging the gap between education and employers.

"Modern Apprenticeship" or "MAP," a partnership between Ascend Indiana and EmployIndy, matches talent with careers in technology, financial services, health care and advanced manufacturing.

Stephanie Bothun, who cofounded Ascend Indiana, said the nation is in a "labor war" because employers post jobs but can't find enough skilled or credentialed workers. Paid apprenticeships can help overcome that. Bothun said she dreams of taking the program statewide - especially to schools and students in rural areas outside central Indiana.

"Our local employers provide real, paid experience," she said, "while students come out with a high school diploma, college credit, relevant credentials and a network that helps them figure out what's right for them."

Bothun said MAP is gaining popularity in Indiana, where about half of high school graduates attend college and fewer complete a degree. Students who are interested can find out more on the website

A student can emerge from the two- to three-year program with an average of 10 to 15 credit hours toward college. Bothun said the partnership with EmployIndy teaches students in the Modern Apprenticeship initiative to hit the ground running, but it also benefits employers.

"We help them with communications, with employability skills, and we make sure that when they show up on day one that, yes, you have a role in training them, but they're going to be able to start providing value," she said. "And that's the goal - the goal is that they're providing value to you."

She added that they're always interested in growing the number of employers in the program, and there's a form on the website to fill out if companies want more information.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Joey Graham Producer

March 3, 2023