Governor Pritzker announces push for apprenticeship programs across Illinois

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (KWQC) - Governor Pritzker announces push for apprenticeship programs across Illinois. And a partnership between the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation. and Lewis and Clark Community College. The governor tweeted that apprenticeship programs like this, that bring private businesses and students together are exactly the type of innovative partnership we're building on across Illinois.
Locally based business, such as Fresh Films, say they're "excited" by the announcement. The Rock Island based production company says they're currently looking for students to join their apprenticeship program this fall. And that after the students complete the program - they help place them in paid internships as way to build a bridge towards their career.
Getting hands-on experience can help teens figure out a career path or make them more competitive to future employers. The production studio specializing in film, documentary and television shows, "but we're also a training ground," says Kelli Feigley, Managing Director of Fresh Films.
Kelli Feigley says they rotate students in the apprenticeship program "in everything from scripting to film-making to editing. Our young people will rotate through every single position, through sound, to make up artists because we want to give them exposure through a lot of different careers. They know director and actor but there are so many jobs."
Fresh Films usually have between 10 to 20 young people on set at a time in a five to one ratio with professionals
Brittnany Nelson, a College Sophmore, and Leah Crandell, a college Junior, are both apprentices at Fresh Films. And both say they believe the hands-on experience will help them in their career trajectory regardless of whether or not they still in the film industry.
"You can graduate with a degree and have no real experience under your belt and experience and being able to actually execute what employers are looking for is different than just being able to write on a piece of a paper that you have a degree," says Crandell.
Kelli says employers need to look beyond the notion that age dictates capability because passionate young people can offer so much to a business. She also says it's about the future. "We want to make sure there's a pipeline of young people that have the skills to get into these jobs and the fact that the state is behind this is brilliant."
Kelsey Conley says two internships at Fresh Film have helped her discover what she wanted to do career-wise. And now she's a staff employee at the production company.
"Everything that I learned earlier on has really carried on into this position (as a production coordinator)" says Conley.
Fresh Films says many of their former students have moved on to successful television and film careers. And that they feel strongly that there is no reason a teen in the Quad Cities shouldn't have the same opportunities as a teenager in Chicago, L.A. or New York.
If you're a student interested in an apprenticeship, or a business interested in partnering with Fresh Films you can contact them at info@freshfilms.org.