Apprenticeship puts teen-ager ahead in work world


February 14, 2000|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR STEVE JACKSON, hard work and dedication have provided a great down payment on his future.

Jackson, a senior at Carroll County Career and Technology Center in Westminster, is one of the youngest students enrolled in a Maryland apprentice program.

The 17-year-old, who began his apprenticeship last June as part of the school's Career Connections program, finished his final English credit last semester and is working full time at Fairlawn Tool and Die in Greenmount.

"He's earning a good wage and is in a registered apprenticeship program leading to certification," said William R. Hill, coordinator of the Career Connections program. "He has such a head start it's mind-boggling."

Jackson -- who is also taking community college classes in the evenings -- will have completed one year of his long apprenticeship when he graduates from North Carroll High in June.

At the end of the apprenticeship -- which includes mathematics, English, theory and computer-design classes -- Jackson will be certified by the state of Maryland as a tool-and-die manufacturer.

"The reason this is so exciting is that there is a tremendous need for tool-and-die makers, and few are being trained," Hill said.

About 70 of the center's 380 students are working off-campus in long-term training programs like Jackson's, Hill said. Another 50 are involved in short-term experiences with the program, which requires students have at least a 94 percent attendance rate before they are considered.

Students must be earning grades of C or better in all their classes, receive teacher recommendations, help find an approved work site and complete an evaluation process that includes input from their parents, he said.

"A lot of it depends on the local businesses," said machine technology teacher Tom Blizzard, who had Jackson in his classes last year.

"Most [tool-and-die manufacturers] will send employees to school but won't offer the hours at the business," he said.

Jackson is the first student to receive a tool-and-die apprenticeship in Carroll County, and one of two to begin working on such a program before graduating from high school, said Blizzard. About 10 percent of his students enroll in apprenticeship programs, he said.

"He is an excellent student, excellent at many things and hungry to learn," Blizzard said. "He deserves all the credit he gets. "He's worked for everything he's got, and he'll continue to work."

Blizzard said Jackson is always thinking of the project as a whole rather than focusing on the immediate task at hand.

"As a tool-and-die maker, you always have to be thinking a couple of steps ahead," Blizzard said. "He was born to be in this trade and is doing an excellent job in it."

Music and movie magic

Come learn how music complements the movies we love at the latest "Lunch and Learn," held from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Carroll County Arts Council, 15 E. Main St., Westminster.

David Krieder, professor of music at Western Maryland College, will use videotapes to demonstrate how music is chosen and used to produce a specific effect in film. The hourlong lecture will provide a brief taste of the semester course he teaches at the college each year.

Participants are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch to the lecture. The cost is $1 per person or free for Arts Council members. Dessert and beverage are included.

Information: 410-848-7272.

An Italian feast

Residents of Carroll Lutheran Village will sponsor a spaghetti supper from 4: 30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the retirement community on St. Mark's Way in Westminster.

Information: 410-848-0900 or 410-756-65143.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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