Investing in the Youth Workforce Through Apprenticeships

Investing in the Youth Workforce Through Apprenticeships

A conversation with two state apprenticeship agencies about how they are supporting youth apprenticeship initiatives in their states
May 10, 2024

In celebration of Youth Apprenticeship Week, Mathematica spoke with Chris MacLarion, Maryland’s director of apprenticeship and training, and Adele Burnes, California’s deputy chief of the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. The focus of the conversation was to learn more about their state’s in-school and out-of-school youth apprenticeship initiatives for youth ages 16–24.

“Youth apprenticeship lets us to break down some stereotypes that students or kids today don’t want to work—to eliminate that—and in turn show employers how easy it is to assimilate a minor onto the job.”

Chris MacLarion, Director, Apprenticeship and Training, Maryland Department of Labor

Chris MacLarion shared insights from the Apprenticeship Maryland Program and how his agency takes a systems-wide approach to youth apprenticeship and how they address employer misconceptions about hiring youth. The program launched in 2016 and now includes approximately 1,000 youth apprentices ages 16–18 from all 24 school districts and more than 700 employer partners.

“We recognize that two of the key components of [creating onramps for opportunity youth into employment] are paid training opportunities and the importance of supportive services to help them complete apprenticeships.”

-Adele Burnes, Deputy Chief, Division of Apprenticeship Standards, California Department of Industrial Relations

Adele Burnes discussed her experience working with California’s Opportunity Youth Apprenticeship (COYA) grant, its supportive services and unique reimbursement model, and California’s youth apprenticeship committee. The grant program will expand nontraditional apprenticeship sectors to opportunity youth by awarding $31 million to community-based organizations and partners with expertise connecting opportunity youth to employment.

Watch the conversation to learn more about the work happening across the country on youth apprenticeships.

This conversation was supported by the Registered Apprenticeship Technical Assistance Center of Excellence.

For more information about Maryland’s youth apprenticeship program please contact Chris MacLarion at

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Ryan Ruggiero

Ryan Ruggiero


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