Come September, Spark, the national nonprofit providing professional apprenticeships to underserved youth, will launch its first yearlong program in Philadelphia and is currently recruiting new mentors across West Philadelphia through this Friday.
As West Philly Local reported in December, the award-winning Spark came to Philadelphia in the spring to test-run a pilot program in the city, partnering with Henry C. Lea School, McMichael Promise Academy, and Mastery-Shoemaker Charter School to serve about 60 at-risk 7th and 8th grade students and connect them with two-month long apprenticeships at local businesses to complete career-related projects with their assigned mentor. Through these apprenticeships, students learn a variety of personal and professional skills and build confidence and their personal identity in order to improve their educational career and goals, and keep them on the path to graduation. This fall, Spark expects to work with over 100 students based on the success of the pilot program.
Last year, West Philadelphia students worked with mentors from Honest Tom’s Taco Shop, the Enterprise Center, and the University of Pennsylvania. Those local businesses will partner with Spark once again this fall, along with the City of Philadelphia, WHYY, Reading Terminal Market, Duane Morris, and 16 other companies.
If you are a local business owner and would like to participate in this program, please fill out a mentor application here.