Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started in my community?

Contact your local high school and business leaders and encourage them to create such a partnership for moving young talent into the trades. You might be surprised to find there’s already some momentum in your favor, as local business owners may have already been in contact with your school in search of new recruits to fill job openings.

What is the school’s role?

The school’s role is to administer the program like any other class, while acting as coordinator and liason for the students and the local businesses. These educators must coach students and inspire quality relationships to form between the students and their employee mentors.

What is the cost to provide the course?

The greatest cost involves the time required by an instructor/facilitator. Beyond that, there's a nominal charge for printed materials, which are sold at cost by the foundation and include a leader's guide and student binders. Other course materials include several videos (not owned by the foundation), which might be freely accessible through a public or school library (or else purchasable online).

How is this different from a Youth Apprenticeship?

The Craftsman course is actually a pre-apprenticeship program, giving students and business owners the chance to get to know one another before making an apprenticeship commitment.

I'm a business owner. How can I afford to have employees spending time with students? Won’t it hurt productivity and profits?

The Craftsman with Character course is an investment in our shared future, creating an employment pipeline between the schools and businesses (like yours). It will help you to attract and develop quality individuals for your workforce. Having said that, the experience at Edgerton Gear (where the program began) has been nothing short of surprising.  Instead of a drop in productivity and profits, as presumed, the shop actually realized a rise in these two metrics.  It turns out that the act of mentoring young people has the tendency to bring out better character traits in those doing the mentoring.  Not only is the business performing better, but a third of its staff is now under the age of thirty: a quick reversal from the former trend.

Do participating employers need special insurance to participate?

Craftsman with Character is a school-sanctioned experience and should be treated like any other school activity that occurs off school property, like a field trip or sporting event. The school’s insurance policy should cover the students, though confirmation of these details with your school is encouraged.

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

The Craftsman with Character Foundation is currently being administered through funding by Edgerton Gear, Inc. The owner, Dave Hataj [HAY-tag], is available to you by e-mail or phone as time permits. Also, you are welcome to schedule a tour of the Edgerton Gear facilility, where you can meet actual mentors and former students (now hired), as well as meet area educators key to the program.

What is the most common barrier to starting?

Resources. Teachers and school staff may be stretched too thin already, unable to budget the time necessary for recruiting area businesses and administering the curriculum. This is where industry may be willing to step in and help fund such a position. The Craftsman with Character Foundation is currently seeking corporate and other sponsorship to help get the program seeded in other areas.