School to Work Youth Apprentice Program: Inspiring Our Future Leaders

Every child deserves educational opportunities, no matter where they live


It’s no secret that the City of Rochester has struggled for years to overcome low high school graduation rates and poverty. Despite those obstacles, hundreds of young people have succeeded in advancing their education and it’s because of a unique program that combines academic achievement with mentoring and volunteerism.

You could call the School to Work Youth Apprentice Program, a “hidden gem” of Rochester Regional Health. For the past 26 years, it has been positively influencing and opening doors for high school students who come from at-risk circumstances. They attend classes in the morning and spend afternoons working at Rochester General Hospital, rotating every ten weeks through different areas of the hospital.

Since 1989, more than 500 Rochester City School District students have participated in the program and a majority of those who graduate pursue careers in healthcare. Many are also the first in their families to graduate high school.

“Right now, we have approximately 30 graduates who are working for Rochester Regional Health,” says Ken Frazier, program director. “This is an incredible program that inspires students and provides hope for their future, yet few in the community know about its impact.”

School to Work students must maintain:

  • 2.5 grade point average in core courses
  • 93% attendance rate at both school and work

Students are introduced to various roles and professions in a hospital setting, including nursing, physical therapy and lab work. They also gain experience in medical, business and technical specialties and are paid a stipend for their work.

In March, 33 students traveled to Philadelphia for a three-day visit at Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The trip, made possible by The Summit Federal Credit Union, gave the students a new perspective on healthcare beyond Rochester. Because of generous friends like The Summit Federal Credit Union, Rochester Regional Health is able to continue the School to Work Youth Apprentice Program.  YAP #1 photo (Philadelphia Trip)

For eligibility requirements or additional information call

(585) 922-4250.

YAP #2 Photo (Philadelphia Trip)


YAP #3 Photo (Philadelphia Trip)