Exploring Professional Options through Apprentice Learning

Nevaeh has an impressive resume, participating in experiences at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, Vertex Pharmaceutical, Trinity Financial, and the State House. At 14 years old, she understands the realities of employment in a wide variety of professional fields due to her involvement with Apprentice Learning.

“You get to do something you enjoy,” Nevaeh said. “The beautiful thing about Apprentice Learning is you can try things more than once.  If you try something and it’s not for you, they’ll help you find something new that really interests you.”

Apprentice Learning partners with Boston Public Schools and offers career education programs for seventh and eighth-grade students, designed to teach essential work skills and expose students to different careers and adults who are passionate about their professions. This allows students to make a clear connection between success in school and a satisfying, productive work life.

Nevaeh completed the Apprenticeship program as a student at the BTU School. After six weeks of classroom instruction by Apprentice Learning staff, Nevaeh went to work at Mike’s Fitness, a Jamaica Plain gym, for two hours a week for six weeks.

“I wanted to work for as long as I can remember because I’ve always wanted the independence. I’ve been raised to be very self-sufficient thanks to my mom,” Nevaeh said. “All around it made me a better person because I learned about financial responsibility.”

Apprentice Learning’s ability to prepare students for future employment is strikingly apparent for Nevaeh – after participating two years ago in City Summer Internship, a paid career exploration program for girls and the apprenticeship program as an eighth-grade student, she will be an employed peer leader for the City Summer Internship this summer. As a peer leader, she’ll be responsible for overseeing and supporting the younger students participating in the program.

Nevaeh’s experience with Apprentice Learning has taught her many new skills, from the specifics of extracting DNA at Vertex to maintaining accurate records at Mike’s Fitness to more general skills like writing thank you notes and resumes, and managing money and time.

One aspect of City Summer Internship was a stipend for working, but money was deducted if students were late. Traveling as a group sometimes led to scrambling to arrive on time, but Nevaeh boasts that they were never late.

“I intended to get the full amount that I was owed,” Nevaeh said. “Now I always allow myself a certain amount of time just in case something goes wrong, like if the bus is five minutes late, I have enough time to get there in time.”

Time management was one of the key skills Nevaeh developed from her Apprentice Learning experience. Nevaeh also reflects on the things she’s learned about herself in Apprentice Learning and plans to apply this knowledge to her future career. She wants to study criminal law and have a minor in business.

“Being a lawyer, I feel like I’ll be able to better understand people and what they’re going through.  If I have a client who has trouble articulating what they want to say, I can help them because I understand where they’re coming from, so it’ll provide me with a better emotional connection with people and it’ll help me get my point across,” Nevaeh said. “You can tell somebody something, but if you can emotionally connect with them and have them feel what you have to say, it makes a deeper impact.”

In addition to learning crucial social skills, Nevaeh has appreciated the opportunity to “get a little taste of everything” and explore different professional options, whether it’s working in a lab, island ecology, or stock management.

“It makes it easier to know what you want to do because you’ve been in that environment,” Nevaeh said. “You’re able to make a better and informed decision about your career.”

Even the experience of having a job has been meaningful for Nevaeh. The responsibility that comes with having a job has prepared her for future employment while giving her the chance to try new things.

“I know a lot of people in my communities who don’t get this opportunity,” Nevaeh said. “I thought it was amazing and a really good thing everybody should try at least once in their life, because you grow so much as a person.”