Introducing UNLV’s First Registered Apprenticeship Program For Teachers

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Graphic by Kayla Roberts.

Nevada officials and UNLV have worked together to develop a creative plan to alleviate the state’s severe teacher shortage, which is among the worst in the country.

The Nevada Forward Initiative, a teacher preparation program housed within UNLV’s College of Education, has recently been approved by the Nevada Office of Labor Commissioner’s Apprenticeship Council as the nation’s first teacher training apprenticeship program. Kelsey Claus, Associate Director of Programming & Communications for The Nevada Forward Initiative to gives more clarification on the program’s background.

“The Nevada Forward Initiative is a collection of grant-funded and academic programs which seek to both support future educators with pathways to licensure and continued professional development in order to add more qualified educators into the Nevada workforce,” states Claus.

The apprenticeship program is one of only eight in the nation and the first of its kind in the western region of the country. Claus also discusses her thoughts on the initiative and its impact on the community. 

“The Nevada Forward Initiative is a critical component to adding more qualified educators to classrooms across the state. The people who pursue teacher preparation programs are committed to their communities and to student success. We are proud to offer various pathways for folks to be able to pursue their dreams of becoming educators and believe that reflecting the community in terms of diversity and lived experience of our students is valuable to Nevada’s next generation,” Claus explains.

UNLV has been able to expand the program by becoming a state apprenticeship program. Therefore, the university has become more eligible for grant financing opportunities that were previously inaccessible. The Nevada Forward Initiative is intended to provide job readiness and workforce training for aspiring educators. 

It is structured with an accelerated master’s level teacher licensure program (A-ARL) for professionals with non-teaching degrees, as well as a one-of-a-kind licensure program, the Paraprofessional Pathways Project (PPP), for current school support personnel who desire to transfer to teaching. Apprenticeship funds are available for both programs. More than 460 paraprofessionals, long-term substitutes and other school support employees have become certified teachers or are on course to become licensed teachers since the PPP’s launch. Additionally, they’re able to do so while working and pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees. 

225 Nevada Forward graduates are now teaching in Southern Nevada schools, with another 233 students enrolled in active PPP and A-ARL cohorts. Almost 70% of PPP students are from historically underrepresented groups, establishing a pipeline for exceptional teachers who can assist our state’s diverse student populations in meeting their ongoing requirements. Claus has provided final details on the application process for those interested. Applications are accepted now through November 2023 (see website for deadlines per program). Accepted students will begin their 1-year program in December 2023. We encourage anyone who seeks to become an educator to learn more about our programs and start their journey to leading their own classrooms here at the UNLV College of Education,” says Claus.

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