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High School Registered Apprenticeships Help Iowa Students Gain Knowledge + Experience

High School Registered Apprenticeships

May 26, 2022


During the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Future Ready DSM podcast, guests share insights about the employment landscape for people entering the workforce, as well as those looking to advance or change their career paths with The Partnership’s Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear.  

The most recent episode of Future Ready DSM welcomed David Ottavianelli, Director of Workforce and Community Development at John Deere about the work-based initiatives at the company, including High School Registered Apprenticeships in Iowa. 

Finding Talent

Ottavianelli discussed the importance of finding talented workers in production and skilled trade roles to support manufacturing locations around the state. Key initiatives included ways to increase the student candidate pipeline, military transition programs and second-chance opportunities for returning citizens. Throughout the study of major work-based initiatives, John Deere has found success making students aware of manufacturing career opportunities and outlining the specific steps to get there through high school apprenticeship programs and community outreach and programs like IGNITE, where students are introduced to the basics of manufacturing so they can gain skills and possibly enter into an apprenticeship program, allowed for. 

Benefits of High School Registered Apprenticeships 

Currently, John Deere supports over 52 new students in High School Registered Apprenticeships in partnership with nine different high schools. This includes focuses on welding, CNC machining and IT software engineering. Upon graduation, apprentices are prepared with the technical skills to be successful in careers at John Deere and contribute and add value to the organization right away. The program starts with the high schools, where students register and compete for spots during their junior year. During their senior year, they spend half a day at school and half a day at work. By the time they are 18, they are credentialed and can even move into full-time work. 

Technical Challenges + Best Practices

Some challenges occur as the apprenticeships get up and running, including sequencing of courses (blueprint reading should be done earlier than senior year), behavioral competencies (communication, showing up on time, etc.), number of instructors and business partners. Ottavianelli said that when considering work-based initiatives the key is to start simple: it only takes one student and one business. He said to also reach out to local high schools and community colleges for partnership opportunities. 

Find more information on work-based initiatives at John Deere here. If you’re interested in setting up your own High School Registered Apprenticeship, go to iowastem.org/apprenticeships

The video below includes an in-depth panel discussion on what it’s like to launch a High School Registered Apprenticeship program: 


Listen to the entire podcast above. 

The Future Ready DSM podcast brings Greater Des Moines (DSM) employment leaders and experts in to discuss the latest trends in talent attraction and retention in the region. Hosted by Greater Des Moines Partnership Senior Vice President of Talent Development Dr. Marvin DeJear. 



Future Ready DSM

The Future Ready DSM Podcast brings Greater Des Moines (DSM) employment leaders and experts in to discuss the latest trends in talent attraction and retention in the region.