Academy of Applied Science
Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program
The vitality of the nation's defense is inherently dependent on adequate availability of personnel with a high degree of orientation to science and engineering. These men and women are needed in uniformed functions, in the Army in-house activities, and in the private sector assisting in technological functions. It is essential that people who are qualified and oriented to perform professional and support work in the defense life and physical sciences are available. Accordingly, this project is intended to ultimately increase the size and improve the quality of the U.S. defense technical community.
Objective and Apprenticeship Participants
The objective is to provide a cooperative education (work/study) program which will afford hands-on experience in research and development activities to high school students who may choose to enter and complete basic education in science and engineering.
The basic criterion for selection of participants will be the potential shown for pursuing careers in science and engineering. Factors to be considered in the selection process include 1) previous demonstrated abilities and interests in science and engineering (for example, extracurricular technical activities such as science clubs and science fairs); and/or 2) potential for a successful career in the field as indicated from overall scholastic achievement, aptitude and interest areas; 3) recommendations of high school teachers and administrative personnel; and 4) interviews with prospective participants.
In developing possible sources from which to select students for the program, a deliberate effort will be made to identify high school students from socially and economically disadvantaged groups, as that term is defined in Public Law 95-507.
High school students accepted for apprenticeships will be (i) paid during work periods and (ii) will work directly under a mentor scientist or engineer who will provide guidance on day-to-day job activities and be available to assist in providing information on career opportunities in science and engineering.
Program Size and Distribution
The intent is to accommodate many apprentices rapidly and in an orderly manner. Where opportunities exist, wide distribution of apprenticeships shall be made to universities within the continental United States.
Pay and Funding
Entry apprentices are to be paid in accordance with student minimum wage guidelines. The mentor has the discretion to use his/her portion of the grant funds to pay other research assistants for services rendered in accomplishing the program.
Identifying/Selecting Sponsors, Mentors, and Apprentices
The grantor will be responsible for identifying prospective mentors and sponsoring university institutions. The grantee shall evaluate each mentor and sponsoring institution and select those that can provide the best opportunity to ensure program success as delineated herein. An appropriate sub grant shall be negotiated with the sponsoring institution.
Participation by sponsors will be voluntary. Identification and selection of mentors are major considerations. Where practicable, the mentor will be a person whose primary duties are "hands-on" bench work so that the apprentice interfaces continually with the mentor. The mentor's situation should be one in which there is a significant amount of time spent in actually doing the research/engineering that the apprentice can observe, assist where practicable and be taught at the same time. Each mentor should be involved in the apprentice selection process and make the final decision on who will be accepted. An institution may be awarded more than one grant and, accordingly, a mentor may oversee more than one apprentice. The appropriateness of specific mentors is a critical element to program success. This decision is to be left to the local sponsoring organization.
Length of Apprenticeship
Although designed primarily as a summer program, once the student is brought into the program, his/her progress and association with the sponsoring institution will be encouraged on a continuing basis, hopefully through college as he/she becomes eligible for other programs such as co-ops or internships. The program at the institution may be continued through the winter as an after-school job to ensure that the apprentice's motivation is maintained.
Mentors are the key to effective time utilization by apprentices. Implicit guidelines should be provided to all sponsors and mentors to maximize use of time. An assessment of utilization shall be provided the grantee as part of overall program evaluation.
Administering Entry Inquiries
Receiving applications directly from students is considered non-productive. Screening by high school teachers is essential if the program is to be administered in an orderly and effective manner.
Apprentices should live within daily commuting distance of their jobs. If they elect to do so, sponsors are free to provide special transportation within legal limits.
Apprentices shall perform only unclassified work.
In general, this program is limited to participation by educational institutions and is deemed applicable only to high school seniors, rising seniors and rising juniors.
Apprentices should only be placed in research situations where their limited skills permit them to exert tangible efforts towards recognizable goals as participating members of a team. They must contribute to the work at hand, understand their contribution and, in general, understand what was accomplished.
The grantee must obtain from the grant officer approval of the sub grant form prior to awarding sub grants to participating/ sponsoring institutions.
Reporting and Evaluation
Within thirty (30) days after conclusion of the apprenticeship, the sub grantee shall submit to the grantee a narrative letter report on each student employed as part of this program. The report must indicate the type and level of work performed by the student and an evaluation of the student's performance as well as comments and suggestions on this effort.
It will be useful to maintain contact with apprentices throughout their college experience to determine if they actually major in science or engineering. If they do, some type of co-op or internship agreement should be devised to maintain contact and provide for future employment.