In late April, the Iowa Governor's 2019 Future Ready Iowa Summit: STEM Education + Workplace Partnerships took place in Des Moines, IA. The summit seeks to bring leaders from business, education, non-profits, and more to discuss their programs and models for combining STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education with workplace experience. According to the event’s website, “Innovative education-workplace partnerships are emerging across Iowa, bringing value to employers while inspiring tomorrow's workers in today's classrooms.”
At the summit, Ruan team members were on a panel with our Central Campus High School partners to share the successes of Ruan’s apprenticeship program. Later in the session, they represented Ruan in separate roundtable discussions with organizations from around the state who are trying to get STEM-focused workplace programs going in their communities.
Launched in 2017, the Ruan Information Technology Apprenticeship Program is one such initiative. Ruan partners with Central Campus High School to provide a program that offers the opportunity for selected apprentices to gain valuable work experience, earn an income, and continue their education. The program targets sophomore to senior year students who are interested in technology. Apprentices work alongside professionals in Ruan’s IT department for a minimum of 2,000 hours while earning high school and college credit, regular hourly pay, and real-world industry experience.
The apprenticeship program has been a great success. Apprentices and their mentors have also developed various continuous improvement ideas, a key part of Ruan’s culture. As the program continues to grow, we look forward to providing practical STEM experience and real-world industry experience for more students in our community.