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Apprenticeship Program in Texas to Address Teacher Talent Pipeline

Dr. Robert DeHaas
Dr. Robert DeHaas

The first paid teacher residency apprenticeships in Texas will be offered soon by Dallas College, as part of a program aimed at building a steady pipeline of well-trained teachers and putting those teachers in more classrooms across the state, sooner rather than later.

Staffing and teacher shortages in schools across the nation, which only worsened during the pandemic, have left Texas schools facing an immediate challenge in recruiting teachers for hard-to-fill positions.

Dallas College’s School of Education is making a concerted effort with local school districts to strengthen the teacher pipeline by modeling a hands-on training program similar to what has been successfully employed in other profes- sions, such as fasttrack apprenticeships in health care.

This paid apprenticeship model gives trainees a chance to gain real-world experience and earn a salary with a partner organization while earning a degree or a credential.

Dallas College will hold a signing ceremony with the first two partner school systems on March 30, 2022 at 2 p.m.

The Texas Education Agency estimates that in the next decade Texas will continue to experience high demand for certified school teachers to fill positions across the state. Demand is particularly high in disciplines that currently have an inadequate supply of school-teachers. Dallas College is the second institution across the nation and the first in Texas to have its program be recognized by the Department of Labor as a registered teaching apprenticeship.

“School districts across Texas already rely on Dallas College and other institutions of higher education to meet their hiring needs but this apprenticeship program will provide aspiring educators with a seamless bridge to train in a school district and then land a job in that same district,” says Dallas College Vice Provost of Education Dr. Robert DeHaas. “The apprenticeships will be an important and unique way that our School of Education continues to work closely with our local school district partners to meet their critical educator workforce needs.”

“The apprenticeships will help fill short-term workforce needs of partner school systems while providing a rich career-embedded learning opportunity for Dallas College students, resulting in a living wage job,” said Dallas College Dean of Educator Pathways Sara DeLano. “We are thrilled to launch this program with two local school partners and would love to expand it to school systems across the region.

“The apprenticeship program removes financial barriers and supports school systems in growing their own pipeline of talented educators.”

Richardson Independent School District (RISD) is the first to join Dallas College in the apprenticeship program and Uplift Education expects to join in the partnership this spring to host students currently enrolled in Dallas College’s bachelor’s degree in teaching program and place them at schools most in need of additional teaching staff.

Students in the first co-horts in fall 2022 will earn $30,000 each in year-long residencies. These students will serve as residents three days per week in classrooms and will then either tutor or serve as a substitute one day per week. At scale, the apprenticeship program will look to serve 200 future educators in partnering school districts across Dallas County.

“This innovative program offers a win-win for Dallas College students and school districts,” said Tabitha Branum, RISD’s interim superintendent. “The [Dallas College] School of Education will graduate students who will not be deeply in debt, so when they become teachers, they won’t have to find ways to pay off that debt. The immediate opportunity for Richardson ISD is that we will be able to host and hire students who have spent a year preparing and honing their craft. We think an apprenticeship year increases the likelihood that they will become excellent long term educators in our district.”

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