Employers recognize the challenge of hiring unprepared employees. That is why the Regional Career Pathway and WBL Collaborative was established, to leverage an ecosystem of schools, employers and community partners to help advance career readiness.

By creating access to students and employers for immersive internships and youth apprentices, we are preparing our future workforce and helping employers close their skills gap.

Currently, we are offering these pathway experiences in both manufacturing and information technology, with new industries being added as demand increases. Click here to learn more about specific industries and pathways offered.

Participating employers benefit from:

  • Building strong connections to schools and community partners
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining the next generation of industry professionals
  • Contributing to the college and career readiness of of high school students
  • Mentoring diverse learners in professional competencies and technical skills
  • Motivating and supporting students as they explore additional training and education beyond high school

“It has been a great learning experience for us to provide guidance and mentoring on skills we were unaware what a 16-18 year old could actually do.”
–Kyle Winchester (M&R Print) 

“Evan is the type of worker we are looking for at Prince. Great soft skills and team work abilities. New program for us but worked great for us and the student.” 
–Tomasz Glowacki (Prince Industries)

“We didn’t know how to get started on getting young folks in our business. It was really refreshing to get some help with that” 
–Greg Carrico & John Holian (Camcraft Inc.)

“…we struggled with labor shortages and have found that apprenticeship programs are an excellent source for hiring employees
-Lianne G Sundberg (Simplex Systems Control)


Employers are provided with onboarding and training for students who are matched with their company’s particular workforce needs. Student candidates are recruited from participating high schools and go through a selection process based on your workplace needs. 



Employers may be eligible for  tax credits and other benefits of a Registered Apprenticeship program through the partnership with Project Hire-Ed at College of DuPage. Apprentices can start their Registered Apprenticeship program while in high school or upon graduation and will gain technical skills for their role while earning college credit. 

Learn more about the Registered Apprenticeship Program with the Department of Labor through Project Hire-Ed.


What is work-based learning, including the pre-apprenticeship model?
Work-based learning represents a continuum of on-the-job, career exploration experiences. Depending on the grade level of the student, activities could include business tours, job shadowing, internships (a few days or weeks, up to a semester), and paid pre-apprenticeship employment. Students can earn high school credit for participating in apprenticeship and internship programs, and in some cases, they may be able to earn credit for future apprenticeship programs beyond high school.

Why engage in work-based learning?
Work-based learning programs, including youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship, provide opportunities for high school students to experience, and gain skills in a real work environment. Simultaneously, they give businesses a chance to inspire and develop a new generation of talent.

How are students placed in businesses for pre-apprenticeship jobs?
Student candidates complete an interest survey that includes questions about their course work, prior work experience, access to reliable transportation, and hours that they can work. In turn, GPS Education Partners works hand-in-hand with school districts to place students with employers that are in close proximity to the school. The student’s readiness and career goals will also play important roles in the placement process.

If employers want to participate, what is the next step?
To learn more about the pre-apprenticeship program and other opportunities for hosting work-based learning experiences (facility tours, job shadowing, internships, etc.), contact Jeff Ziegler using this form.