Apprenticeship, Training, and Career Clusters

Apprenticeship Programs

Apprenticeship is a voluntary, industry-driven program that is sponsored by employers, employer associations, and jointly by management and labor. An apprentice, as an employee, receives supervised, structured, on-the-job training combined with related technical instruction in a specific occupation.

Apprenticeship is open to anyone 16 years of age or older; however an employer may set a higher entry age. Individuals must be age 18 to apprentice in specified hazardous occupations.

The Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council is the registration agency for apprenticeship programs. Since its inception, the Apprenticeship and Training Council has approved and registered 230 occupations and more than 28,512 apprentices have completed training.

On-the-job training for apprentices takes place at the work site under the direction of a highly skilled journeyperson. An approved training plan outlines the work process in which the apprentice will be trained and specifies an approximate length of time to be spent in each major process. A training program must be at least 2,000 hours in duration to be considered as an apprentice-able occupation. Because of the growing importance of advancing technology, many trades have lengthened both on-the-job training and related instruction hours to encompass the changes taking place throughout the industry. Most apprenticeships take three or four years to complete.

MD Apprenticeship and Training Program

College/Career Research and Development

College/Career Research and Development (CCRD) is a career pathway program that prepares students with academic, technical, and workplace skills necessary to seek further education and employment in a career field of their interest upon graduating from high school.  The program contains two in-school courses, a portfolio development project, and a site-based learning experience. The CCRD program includes:

  • Effective career planning and career decision-making
  • Goal setting and financial literacy
  • Specified minimum 270 hours of paid or unpaid experience
  • Official school enrollment during employment
  • Formal recognition of the site experience on student record

Outcomes for the student:

  • Identification of abilities, personality type, and personal strengths
  • Integration classroom theory with workplace practice through Skills for Success competencies
  • Technical and research skills
  • Understanding of workplace culture
  • Identification of components of financial planning

College Tech Prep Clusters

Today’s information-based economy demands highly skilled individuals with the ability to work with people from different cultural and educational backgrounds. Therefore, the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Division of Career and Technology Education (CTE) and the Foundation programs strive to provide students with an education that combines rigorous academic and technical study with the excitement of discovery through small learning communities and career-themed programs. With the support of the business and higher-education communities, students apply their acquired skills and knowledge to make informed decisions concerning education, careers, and a path toward lifelong learning. 

The purpose of the career cluster model is to direct high school students toward focused programs of study that make their experiences more meaningful by relating future goals to current course work. The MCPS career clusters are based on what students need to know and be able to do in order to graduate prepared for further education and careers in the 21st century.

These clusters provide real-world learning experiences, including internships, while maintaining high academic standards. Students come to realize that graduation is a stepping stone to their lives beyond high school. They also acquire the skills, tools, and self-confidence to realize their dreams and goals. Additionally, the 11 career clusters allow business leaders to be partners in education by involving them in the development of curriculum that includes industry skills and standards to meet certification requirements. Each career cluster has a Cluster Advisory Board (CAB) that collaborates with MCPS, Montgomery College (MC), and other colleges and universities to align the high school and college curriculum to promote a smooth transition from high school to postsecondary education. 

Each career cluster includes one or more Career Pathway Programs (CPPs). Most of these programs have an articulation agreement that details the courses the MCPS students must complete with a grade of B or better to receive college credit at MC and other institutions of higher learning. 

The term “articulation” describes a process by which MCPS and MC agree to align programs to award high school students with College Tech Prep credit based on successful completion of requirements as part of their high school program. Students will complete a CPP and graduate from a MCPS high school to receive MC College Tech Prep credit free of charge to continue their education. The MCPS/MC articulation agreements build on the existing Maryland career clusters.

Maryland Career Clusters

Each senior high school offers a limited number of these programs. Thomas Edison High School of Technology offers a variety of Career and Technology Education for students to obtain vocational and professional training as well as college credits during high school. Program information is available at 240-740-2000.

Completing a career pathway program at a MCPS high school and articulating credits to MC benefits students in several ways. It gives them a head start on their college education while at the same time saves tuition and book fees since these courses are completed prior to enrollment at MC.