Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

A Career Head Start

Posted 05/17/2021 by Jessica Nesbit

CareerWise matches students with apprenticeships. graphic courtesy of

The CareerWise apprenticeship program can give students valuable work experience.

With increasing costs of attending college and jobs becoming more competitive, it is only natural for students to want a headstart that can give them an advantage against other people. That is why the CareerWise apprenticeship program and the TJ Career Hub have helped students acquire apprenticeships. An apprenticeship is a program with a company that teaches skills one needs to succeed in the industry, while still paying like any other employee, unlike many internships which are unpaid. The CareerWise apprenticeship program is three years long and one can gain valuable work experience all while still getting a high school diploma. 

There are many industries that one can apply to through this program, such as the hospitality, medical, business management, education, manufacturing, and internet technology industries. Some job openings are even exclusive to DPS students, such as jobs through the city of Denver. To see job openings, students can access the “Career Hub” course on Schoology and see a list of job opportunities that are updated weekly. The Career Hub course also has many resources that help beyond the apprenticeship program, including guides for constructing resumes and cover letters, information about Xplore events, work study resources, and information about the Launch Internship program. 

Matt Mason is the Career and College Success Navigator at TJ, and he helps students with filling out job applications, creating resumes, and applying for internships and apprenticeships. When asked about the benefits of apprenticeships he added, “Students who follow through the program have three years of experience that other youth…cannot say that they have.” He also added that apprenticeships can “lead and promote college by tuition reimbursement.” When asked about deciding between an internship and apprenticeship, he wants students to keep in mind that “in terms of the Launch Internship program…[it needs] students with a CTE background, which is the technology magnet program that TJ offers. The apprenticeships do not have such prerequisites. That can sometimes be a barrier for students.” 

However, there are some things that students should keep in mind before considering this program. For the three years that one is in this program, they have to stay in Colorado. Therefore, this program might not be compatible with people who desire out-of-state education or who plan on moving away from Colorado. Another thing to keep in mind is that because this program is meant to replace elective classes, students should be on track to graduate by their junior year. This also means that a typical school day will look much different. Possible examples of altered schedules can be mornings at TJ and afternoons at work, or alternating days of school and work. Lastly, balancing work and school could be a potential challenge for some. However, most employers through the program are flexible with student schedules. With the right amount of time management, balancing the two can be feasible for most students. 

Ultimately, the apprenticeship program is a great opportunity for students to not only gain work experience but to network with future employers and practice building a resume and cover letters. While there are many things to keep in mind, apprenticeships ultimately provide a boost in an increasingly competitive job market. If the apprenticeship program sounds appealing, students can contact Mr. Mason at for more information and for help building an application.