Empowering apprenticeships for middle schoolers

by Spark Program, Inc. Vetted since 2013


The 21st century job market demands core credentials, from college diplomas to critical thinking. But too many U.S. youth lack opportunities to succeed. Up to 20% don't complete high school. Spark creates hands-on apprenticeships that bring underserved middle school students out of the classroom and into the workplace for individualized mentoring that results in educational success and powerful career ambitions. 92% of Spark alumni have completed or are on track to complete high school on time.

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All youth deserve a chance to build the confidence, skills, and social support that will help them thrive in school and in the workforce, yet up to 40% of students in Spark's cities don't finish high school. Those who drop out face poverty, unemployment, and other hardships with serious social costs. Middle school is a crucial opportunity for helping students build the tools to stay on track toward graduation and fulfilling jobs.


Spark partners with schools and workplaces to create inspiring educational experiences for underprivileged 7th and 8th graders. Spark's tailored workplace apprenticeships help students build 21st century workforce skills and connect with professional role models in the critical years before high school. As students explore careers through hands-on projects with their volunteer mentors, they build confidence in their potential to succeed in school and in future careers.

Long-Term Impact

Spark is helping more than 700 middle school students annually, nationwide explore careers and build skills through hands-on apprenticeships. This project will equip eight of those 7th and 8th graders with confidence, curiosity, critical thinking, and other tools for success in school and in careers. Over the long term, transforming the paths of individual students through apprenticeships can add up to boost local graduation rates, drive economic growth, and foster community engagement.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


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Organization Information

Spark Program, Inc.

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.sparkprogram.org
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SparkProgram
Project Leader:
Rachelle Damminger
Chicago, IL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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