UP Michigan Works! celebrates Michigan’s first cybersecurity Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program

Published: Jun. 16, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT
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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - A Michigan organization is celebrating the creation of a new youth apprenticeship program in Dickinson County.

Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! celebrated the partnership and the approval of Michigan’s first high school Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program (YRAP) in cybersecurity with an event on Thursday, June 8.

The idea for YRAP came to fruition when Evan Rice, senior vice president of Guide Star, an Iron Mountain technology solutions company, enlisted the help of Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! (UPMW) to assemble a team to address the talent shortage in cybersecurity in the U.P.

Evan identified the high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) Computer Networking and Security Program at the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District (DIISD).

The DIISD program is renowned for the quality of its graduates and routinely places high school students in robust Work-Based Learning (WBL) assignments with employers throughout the Iron Mountain-Kingsford community.

Evan envisioned using that talent pool to establish Michigan’s first high school Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program. It would meet his growing talent needs while also providing his colleagues in the cybersecurity industry with a template to develop similar programs throughout Michigan.

Thanks to a grant from Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), UPMW was able to facilitate the development of the YRAP by establishing a partnership between Guide Star, the DIISD and their constituent school districts, Bay de Noc Community College and their DIISD/Bay Early College program, the Upper Peninsula Cyber Institute (UPCI) of Northern Michigan University, and national partners CareerWise USA, Jobs For the Future (JFF), and the USDOL Cybersecurity Youth Apprenticeship Initiative.

UPMW serves as a third-party intermediary of Registered Apprenticeship to U.P. businesses who are interested in establishing apprenticeship programs but do not have the time or resources to develop their own programs.

According to a press release from U.P. MichiganWorks!, months of planning went into the development of the YRAP to meet the standards established by the Department of Labor (DOL) for Registered Apprenticeship Programs.

The celebration, hosted at the Pine Mountain Resort in Iron Mountain, featured the six students who made up the first cohort of high school cybersecurity technicians, who are currently employed in a paid, pre-apprenticeship experience, and all the partners who have contributed towards the effort to grow the talent pipeline in the U.P.

For more information about this program and others like it, you contact U.P. Michigan Works!, at (800) 285-9675.