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Future of Work | Gen Z |

Christopher Grant Knows Youth Apprenticeship Can Change a Life

By Adam Vitcavage

“I believe in youth apprenticeship.”

Christopher Grant said this with undeniable confidence as he spoke from a privacy room while on break in his day as a Product Designer Apprentice with Mastercard in New York City. He is a shining example of how a youth apprenticeship can give young people the tools they need to blossom into well-spoken, driven, and impactful individuals.

He applied to be a graphic design youth apprentice during his sophomore year of high school after he had been toying with the skills and teaching himself programs since he was 10-years-old. Even though he saw graphic design as a hobby, he never imagined it could be a career.

Fast forward and Christopher is enrolled as a freshman at Baruch College, majoring in Graphic Communications and in his third year as an apprentice. To say he is thriving in the field would be an understatement.

During his time with Mastercard as a CareerWise Apprentice, Christopher has grown into a fully contributing and valued member of the CX team,” said Christopher’s supervisor Jay Eckert, Director of Product Experience Design. “Christopher has impressed everyone whom he has met and worked with from executive leadership across Mastercard to his daily stakeholders and fellow designers.”

However, it’s not his market research, journey mapping, persona creation, wireframing, and prototyping that makes him a youth apprenticeship trailblazer. It’s his passion beyond the walls of his Mastercard office that really makes Christopher shine.

Christopher has taken it upon himself to work with a communication coach to better grasp how to show just how much he believes in youth apprenticeship. He’s spoken at high school job fairs and tries to recruit students he sees out in public. He recently had the chance to speak with David Banks, the Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education, as well as Jade Grieve, the Chief of Student Pathways about the importance of schools being involved with apprenticeship programs.

I’ve spoken at public high schools such as my own and some of the top high schools in New York City, like Stuyvesant High School, urging students to participate in apprenticeship programs like Careerwise,” Christopher said reflecting on all the opportunities he’s had to share about apprenticeships. “I want to give back.”

In all, he’s spoken to thousands of people – from students to CEOs to policy makers – about the importance of youth apprenticeship programs. His confidence in youth apprenticeships helped him recently be selected to be part of the inaugural Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship National Youth Council.

“By joining the PAYA National Youth Council, I hope to grow as a leader and take charge in contributing to the expansion of youth apprenticeships–simply because my youth apprenticeship has given so much to me.”