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Seven GISH Students Sign to Registered Apprenticeships in 8th Year for Program

GISH Registered Apprenticeship Signing Day

May 7th, 2024

Career & Technical Education (CTE) was front and center once again for Grand Island Senior High (GISH) last week.  For the eighth straight year, Juniors in the GISH Academy of Technical Sciences signed-on for Registered Apprenticeships at local businesses.

Covering an array of technical opportunities, the 2024 class of seven GISH Registered Apprenticeship signees will be gaining work-based experiences in diesel mechanics and manufacturing.  Being the first Nebraska High School to launch Registered Apprenticeship opportunities for students, seeing the program thrive eight years later is a source of pride for GISH Administration and CTE Teachers.  

“The Academy of Technical Science is very blessed to have a great partnership with local industries.” Mr. D.W. Holley, GISH Academy of Technical Sciences Principal, said, “Students in the Automotive/Diesel, Manufacturing, and Welding Pathways have the opportunity to be mentored by local experts before their senior year through post-graduation.  It could not be possible without great instructors at the Academies of Grand Island Senior High and our industry partners working together to create this pipeline.  Students are immersed in real world experience and earn a wage all the while maintaining a full class schedule at Senior High.  We are grateful to help Grand Island grow their own skilled labor force.”

GISH Academy of Technical Sciences Principal, D.W. Holley, with Nebraska Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly.

Nebraska Registered Apprenticeships (per the Nebraska Department of Labor) combines supervised on-the-job training with technical classroom instruction in subjects related to the apprentice’s chosen occupation. Apprentices have the opportunity to earn a living while gaining skills, and pay raises are awarded throughout the program as skills increase. Apprenticeships have been proven to be a very successful strategy for preparing skilled workers to help America compete effectively in the global economy.

Launched in 2017, Grand Island Senior High became the first high school in the state of Nebraska to offer paid apprenticeships for students in CTE programs.  Now, eight years later, GISH boasts more than 60 students who have completed the Registered Apprenticeship opportunity, with Grand Island representing 18 of the apprenticeship business partners across the state. 

Kicking-off the immersive student opportunities, GISH hosted their annual Apprenticeship Signing Day ceremony last Wednesday, May 1st at the Career Pathways Institute facility.  Hosting students and families along with GISH and district staff, the newest class of apprentices were joined by leaders from their hosting business for a formal letter signing and photo op celebration.  Notable guests also included Nebraska Lt. Governor Joe Kelly, Nebraska Department of Labor Commissioner John Albin, Nebraska State Apprenticeship Director Jim Wightman, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Director Jamie Karl, and GIPS Superintendent Matt Fisher.

Jorge Mendoza signing for a Registered Apprenticeship with Chief Buildings

Taking in the festivities, Lt. Governor Kelly affirmed the GISH students being recognized as well as the apprenticeship program. 

“This [program] allows young people a broad array to decide where they fit in, for what sounds like a great career.” Lt. Gov. Kelly shared, “What a great way to keep you here in Nebraska!  We’re always looking for that. I think everybody in the state can look at a program like this and say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it like Grand Island.’” 

In growing innovative education opportunities, GISH looks to continue the Registered Apprenticeship program as one of Nebraska’s leaders in CTE.  As for this year’s class who signed-on, Grand Island Public Schools looks forward to seeing these seven Islander students grow in skills and discover career-empowering opportunities. 

Theo Merchant signing for a Registered Apprenticeship with AGI

Congratulations to the 2024 Grand Island Senior High Registered Apprenticeship Signees: 

  • Theo Merchant - AGI
  • Jorge Mendoza - Chief Buildings
  • Isaac Ramon - Chief Fabrication
  • Christopher Hernandez - Holiday Express
  • Derek Palma - Overhead Door
  • Eliseo Cardoza - Overhead Door
  • Moses Mendoza Verdugo - Overhead Door