PUEBLO, Colo. — About 30 to 40 years ago, apprenticeships were mostly used for trade jobs. Now, that’s no longer the case.

“Apprenticeships are moving into professional series where there is actually an ability to develop skills and competencies that will keep them employed,” said Joe Barela, executive director for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

CareerWise Colorado is now up and running in Pueblo which will allow high schoolers the opportunity to get involved in apprenticeships with businesses in their own community.

“It’s really a collaboration of the university, the school districts, the high schools, the high school students, and, of course, the Pueblo employers,” said Fred Galves, special assistant to the president of community engagement at CSU-Pueblo.

Through the program, employers will hire juniors and seniors in high school where they can receive on-the-job training and minimum wage.

“They get to work, they receive money and they’re finishing high school, getting credit toward high school and they’re getting credit toward their college degree for CSU-Pueblo,” Galves said.

He said this also helps with college tuition.

“By the time they graduate high school, they have two years of on-the-job training with the Pueblo employer. They got paid that whole time and they have some years paid for full to their college degree.”

East High School junior, Deanna Hernandez, has aspirations of becoming a teacher someday.

“I want to make other people happy and I want to be able to persevere through that and help other people persevere through that,” she said.

She said this opportunity has helped her realize paying for college and getting a job in education is possible.

“It really helped me see like, ‘yeah, you can do this’. You put in the work and you’ll be able to do this and you’ll be able to pay for it and you won’t have to worry about that much debt,” Hernandez said.

To find out more or how to get involved, click here.