MHS Apprenticeship Program
Milton Hershey started his industrial journey as an apprentice. The MHS Apprenticeship program recognizes this legacy. There are more than 1,300 apprenticeships available in Pennsylvania, and we seek to tap into this resource for our students. This unique program connects students and recent graduates with new opportunities.
The Tools to Thrive
In 2018, Milton Hershey School grew its award-winning Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It added real-world, hands-on apprenticeship opportunities through a formal program. The program provides students and graduates a way to grow market-relevant skills for in-demand jobs. The ultimate goal is to:
- Improve employment outcomes
- Provide the skills graduates need to lead fulfilling and productive lives
- Help graduates earn a sustaining wage
The Value of Apprenticeships
Apprenticeships offer a “learn-while-you-earn” model. They combine structured learning and on-the-job training. Oftentimes, apprenticeships lead to full-time employment.
Apprentices gain valuable work experience. They have access to professional mentors and networks. They even earn postsecondary credits and credentials. Most require several thousand work hours to earn certification.
See more about the value of apprenticeships.
- $60,000 is the average annual starting salary for apprentices¹
- $300,000 is the difference in wages and benefits, over the course of a career, between those who have completed an apprenticeship and those who have not¹
- 91% of apprentices retain employment after program completion¹
- 50% of students who enroll in college take six years to earn a bachelor’s degree²
- $30,000 is the average college debt a graduate has to pay back²
- Develop skills that will serve them well in their careers and life*
- Direct path to the workforce while earning a living wage*
- Individualized path for each student*
- Access to financial support through CES funds (for alumni, not current students)*
- Receive a Journeyman Certificate from the Commonwealth of PA upon apprenticeship completion (for alumni, not current students)*
Pre-Apprenticeships for Students
The pre-apprenticeship arm of the MHS Apprenticeship program is the first of its kind in the state, approved by the PA Department of Labor & Industry. The program lets high school students work in their desired trade or work industry prior to graduation. They earn a pre-apprenticeship certification.
Students receive one-on-one support in identifying and applying for best-fit pre-apprenticeships. Then, they engage in paid, authentic, external work in the field. These hours are combined with the time spent completing in-school CTE coursework. Together, they count toward the completion of a full apprenticeship post-graduation if the student chooses to pursue this path.
The postsecondary apprenticeship arm of the MHS Apprenticeship program is for young graduates. It provides those highly interested in a career pathway the ability to work and learn in a desired field. They are able to continue their education, if desired.
Alumni can apply Continuing Education Scholarship funding towards this path. CES assists with costs related to entering a formal apprenticeship, including housing, tools, food, transportation, and apprenticeship supplies. It also can cover the cost of related technical instruction if the tuition is not paid by the employer. This initial support provides a solid foundation for recent graduates. It lets them focus on earning an income while working toward certification in a highly skilled, viable career path.
MHS Student Outcomes
- 100% of 2012 to 2019 graduates earned at least one industry-recognized certification
- 100% of 2015-2019 graduates earned at least two industry-recognized certifications
Class of 2019
- 96% earned at least 3 industry-recognized certifications
- 93% earned at least 4 industry-recognized certifications
- 89% earned at least 5 industry-recognized certifications
- 28% earned at least 10 industry-recognized certifications
- 1,679 total industry-recognized certifications earned (the most by one class in school history)
Meet Culinary Apprentice Jessica Griest ’19
MHS alumna Jessica Griest ’19 is a culinary apprentice at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts after first participating in a culinary co-op her senior year. She is practicing what she learned in her career pathway classes and learning valuable kitchen management skills. She is the first culinary apprentice in the MHS Apprenticeship Program.
This postsecondary apprenticeship is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation. It is a 4,000-hour program. In the program, participants receive on-the-job training under certified chefs across several HE&R kitchens. Jessica also participates in weekly classroom learning. She attends Lebanon County Career & Technology Center to learn important technical and management skills.
Upon finishing, Jessica will receive:
- American Culinary Federation Certified Sous Chef (CSC) recognition
- A sous chef Journeyman Certificate
- Forty-two hours of course credit at HACC towards an associate degree in culinary arts
Where It All Starts
For many Milton Hershey School students, their first exposure to a particular industry is through an internship or co-op. Students are able to intern at a number of area organizations. These internships match each student’s chosen career pathway.
* U.S. Department of Labor. “Apprenticeship Toolkit: Frequently Asked Questions.”
1Apprenticeship USA. “Research and Statistics.” Department of Labor.
2Parton, Brent. “Youth Apprenticeship in America Today: Connecting High School Students to Apprenticeship.” New America. December 14, 2017.