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New partnership at Southern Miss brings teacher apprenticeship opportunities to students

Southern Miss
Photo courtesy of the University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Registered Teacher Apprenticeship (RTA) program is the first in the state to be recognized by the Mississippi Office of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Students with USM’s RTA program will now have the opportunity to have on-the-job training with educators and other professionals in the industry to help them learn the ropes of what the occupation entails on a daily basis.

The Department of Labor works with community colleges and industry partners across the state to strengthen the workforce and provide expanded opportunities for Mississippians to participate in apprenticeship programs.

Programs predominantly represent fields such as manufacturing, transportation and logistics, energy and utilities, banking, and finance to enable the state’s residents to earn a living wage while learning a new skill that could lead to a meaningful career.

Recently, the federal government added teaching to the list of apprenticeship occupation programs to address the significant challenges the K-12 system faces in attracting and retaining teachers.

“A registered apprenticeship will help us better support students in achieving their goal of becoming teachers. We are excited to work with the Department of Labor to help Mississippians earn a living while learning to become exceptional teachers,” Andrea Krell, instructor and director of teacher residency at USM, said.

“Apprenticeships offer on-the-job training along with related instruction that culminates in both a degree and a teaching license. We believe this new partnership will help meet the teacher workforce needs for the state by providing well-supported pathways to teacher licensure that lead to longevity in the profession.”

Brenda Myers, director of Mississippi’s U.S. DOL Office of Apprenticeship, is looking forward to welcoming USM students looking to explore their horizons in teaching and is hopeful that apprenticeships will become available for additional occupations in future years.

“The University of Southern Mississippi has welcomed the concept of registered apprenticeship and is the first university in the State of Mississippi to register a teachers apprenticeship program,” Myers said. “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship is elated to work with such a prestigious university to educate and train quality teachers. We look forward to expanding in many other occupations in the future.”

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