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The Amazing College Alternative You’ll Want to Know About — a detailed look at the Praxis apprenticeship program

Overview: Not sure if college is right for your high school teen? The Praxis apprenticeship is a college alternative that takes less than a year! Read this interview! BTW, I was indeed compensated for my time to write this post. But I have no hesitation in telling you that I would have written it exactly the same even if I hadn't been. Just sayin'. :-)

What if I told you that your high school graduate could be making $50K in 9 months? WITHOUT going to college?

You'd think I was absolutely “gone off his crump” crazy — but you'd be wrong. There is a program that can make that happen for your child. And I am so intrigued and excited by it that I am thinking seriously about having my senior apply.

Not sure if college is right for your high school teen? The Praxis apprenticeship is a college alternative that takes less than a year! Read this interview!

The program I am talking about is called Praxis. In a nutshell, it is an apprenticeship program. Participants go through three months of bootcamp and then six months of on-the-job experience at a high-growth startup company — and afterwards they are offered a job.

But WOW, this program is SO MUCH more than an ordinary apprenticeship program!

The “bootcamp” is actually three months of intense training where the participant learns to identify their personal brand and how to sell it. They develop a website/blog, design a logo, and learn to write in a way that will help them succeed in the business world. They are actually required to write for 30 days in a row. Yep! And throughout, they are getting feedback to help refine and perfect their writing and their message.

Listen, you may not be in the business world and therefore may not realize how valuable this is — but these days, this is a thing. An IMPORTANT thing. Having your child go through this type of training would give them a leg up when it comes to getting ANY type of job.

But wait, there's more!

After the bootcamp, the participant is provided with several interview opportunities to determine where to do their apprenticeship. The Praxis team works with each participant to find an apprenticeship experience individualized to their own goals. The interviews are just like job interviews — both the company and the interviewee are trying to decide if the match would be a good fit for all concerned.

During the apprenticeship, the participant is adding value to the company. They are not just a grunt or a worker bee or a coffee-getter. The bootcamp prepares them to be competent at their business partner, to step in on day one ready to provide service and be an asset. As one participant said, “Praxis ultimately teaches you how to create value for yourself and others.”

The apprentice develops relationships within the company and proves their worth over time — so that at the end of the six months, that company is more than willing to offer them a permanent spot. Graduates of the program start these new jobs with an average yearly salary of $50K. Yep, that's $0 to $50K in 9 months, y'all.

And the cost? In the final analysis, NOTHING. Currently the pricetag is around $12K (a deposit and then monthly installments) — but the participant receives $14K in pay during the six-month apprenticeship. Even I can do that math! :-)

Can you see why I'm so excited about this???

As a college alternative, this would be a GREAT opportunity for a homeschooled teen.

The chance to build skills, develop and pursue career goals, gain valuable experience, and wind up with professional, salaried employment?? It's a no-brainer!

I had the opportunity to interview a graduate of Praxis named Hannah (she's who I quoted above). What a blast that was! I thoroughly enjoyed spending 45 minutes on Skype hearing how Praxis gave this 19-year-old, who is making a full-time income as an entrepreneur doing what she loves, the tools to do so. (I REALLY wanted to share some of the video here, but my internet connection was poor, so the image was pixeled and the audio wasn't in sync… sigh…)

Hannah's apprenticeship was with a marketing agency. She was a jack-of-all-trades there, doing some blog post writing, design, seo, etc. Before starting the program, she already had some ideas about what she wanted to do with her life — she loves all things creative and is a photographer and artist, among other things — and Praxis engineered her bootcamp and apprenticeship to help her pursue those goals.

She said, “It's awesome how, at the snap of a finger, they can rework the curriculum for you and challenge you.”

Hannah's story actually has an ending you may not have considered: the participant doesn't HAVE to take the job that's offered. In fact, Hannah cut her apprenticeship short, because she was having to turn down opportunities to grow her own business — and she really just wants to work for herself and set her own hours.

But get this: she was retained as an independent contractor for the company she was partnered with, doing the same thing for them now that she used to do as an apprentice. That means she still does quite a bit of work for them, but at HER pace, according to HER schedule, in HER desired location — and at a PROFESSIONAL pay rate.

Yet she can also pursue the other streams of income that she enjoys — branding and graphic design, website design, photography, commissioned art, a second independent contractor job she landed, and whatever else comes her way. Sounds like a dream situation, doesn't it?

Even though she didn't complete the full time of her apprenticeship, she is still considered a successful “graduate,” because she is “doing what I knew was best for myself and fulfilling my goals.”

See, that might be THE thing that I think is the MOST AWESOME about this program. Praxis wants the participant to meet THEIR OWN goals. As Hannah said, “Praxis is essentually built around selling you self-actualization. And somehow they've found a way to craft a curriculum around that.” So if the partner company is not someplace the participant wants to stay, they can go look for something else upon completion of the program. Or they can jump into business for themselves, like Hannah has.

OR, during their time with their partner company, they can be preparing to fill a DIFFERENT role in the company than the one their apprenticeship entails. Praxis will provide curriculum and projects to learn the skills necessary to move into whatever position is their ultimate goal.

Everyone, during the apprenticeship phase, is assigned personal and professional development tasks to further enhance their value, and those will be custom-tailored to meet the needs not just of the partner company but of the individual.

A Praxis representative told me, “We can get you a job and make you amazing at that particular job. But one of the ways Praxis really excels is that we can help you take that job and craft it into something totally new for yourself if you want. No other program comes close to that.”

Hannah again: “It's not just for people who know exactly what they want to do; if anything, it's the opposite. Because usually people who do know exactly what they want to do go to college and try to get a degree in that field; and whether or not that's the right way to go about their passion, that's usually the ‘safest' [hands making quote signs] path. A lot of participants have a basic skill set in maybe a couple of different areas, and the apprenticeship helps you to latch onto one of those and develop it, or latch onto all of them and develop them — and become an expert in your field.”

I am just so impressed with what I've learned about the Praxis apprenticeship program!

But it's not for just anyone, which is the only reason I hesitate in regards to my son. Let me explain.

Hannah said, “It's not for unmotivated people. Drive and determination are two qualities that every Praxis participant has; they're qualities that allow them to thrive within the program. I think it's best suited for people who enjoy going against the grain in order to get where they want to go. That's one of the reasons why you see a lot of homeschoolers within the program; we were taught from the very beginning to think and learn differently.”

I LOVE THAT. Homeschoolers ARE “taught from the beginning to think and learn differently” — and Praxis is another “different” way to go about achieving the goal of adulthood after high school. Many of us, while preparing our kids for college, are aware that college may not be a good fit. Well, Praxis just might be.

Does your teen enjoy working? That's another common characteristic of a successful Praxis participant, according to Hannah. They feel stagnated and exhausted in a classroom or doing standard academics, but going out and getting it done energizes them.

So maybe you're like me, and this all sounds wonderful; but as you think of your teen, you're unsure whether they are able to handle the rigor of the program. You think they may not be enough of a self-starter, or they may not be mature enough to handle the 9-5; or really, what it comes down to is you think they just need more time to grow up. NO WORRIES.

Praxis is for young adults ranging in age anywhere from 16 – 28. It doesn't have to happen right out of high school; in fact, some participants have tried college for awhile and decided it wasn't for them. Others have worked for awhile and then applied. Then there are the ones that have actually GRADUATED COLLEGE but decided that Praxis would give them a better opportunity to receive the tools they need to make a great start on their career. Any and all of the above can apply.

I found out that information when I went to their website to take a look around. The website is powerful stuff, y'all, and it will definitely convince you to seriously consider the program if I haven't succeeded yet (lol). While there, I opened up a chat and asked several questions of the girl who was manning the chat line that day.

Which, btw, is another way to get really solid information about the whole process. The girl who chatted with me is another Praxis participant, not a salesman (she's the “representative” I mentioned before). And she was willing to answer several questions for me, many of which centered around my son and his goals and experience — and maturity level. It was such a help to be able to get detailed information about our specific situation.

She reassured me that Praxis will be up front if they don't think an applicant is ready. They know what it will take, and they are experts at evaluating who will succeed and benefit from the program. I'm encouraged that if my son applied tomorrow, they would take his maturity into consideration and tell him to come back later if need be. AND they will provide feedback about what to work on while he's waiting, so he will be more prepared when it's time to re-apply.

The application process itself takes 2-4 weeks, and if you are accepted, you can choose any month you want to start — no sooner than two months away but up to 12 months away. Love that flexibility.

They have partners in most major cities, with “hubs” in Austin, San Francisco, San Diego, Charleston, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta. Hannah told me that the younger participants, while having to live on their own, or usually placed in cities with a “high Praxis population” so they will have the support they need for their first time away from home. 

Which brings up another wonderful thing about the program: the people. Hannah says, “My absolute favorite part of Praxis is the people. The community is unbelievable. It's unreal how talented and insightful and thoughtful everyone is. I never thought I would be such close friends with people who live miles and miles away from me that I've never met in person; it's just easy to make connections with them. I was talking with some of them and one kid said, ‘I feel like I've bought a network within Praxis.' And that alone was so worth it for him. But along with it, he got this whole experience of the curriculum and the apprenticeship and all that. A LOT of participants will tell you that the people alone are worth the money.”

Doesn't that sound like something you want for your child? If not now, then sometime? 

I am so stoked about the possibilities that I am now wondering if it might suit not just my son but my 21-year-old, who calls herself a college drop-out (“best decision I ever made,” she says) and who would love to create and sell digital art for a living but doesn't know how to get started. This may be just the ticket for her…

Or maybe the college sophomore, who is double-majoring in French and Accounting. When she graduates, maybe Praxis can craft an apprenticeship for her to use BOTH of those interests, not just one or the other…

Can you tell that my wheels are turning, lol? Hopefully they are for you, too! It truly does sound like the possibilities with Praxis are endless, y'all. I really encourage you to check it out for your teen or young adult child. I think you'll be glad you did! :-)

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8 thoughts on “The Amazing College Alternative You’ll Want to Know About — a detailed look at the Praxis apprenticeship program”

  1. Hi. We are living in Malaysia. My son is 14. We are a homeschooling family. Will it be possible for him to apply to Praxis? Of course that would be after he reaches age 16.

    1. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m sure they do at Praxis. :-) Go to their website and see if there is any information about international students. If you don’t find any, then you can ask someone directly by opening up a chat box. :-)

  2. Maria Allegretto

    Hi Annie…I came upon your article looking around the internet for indepenent reviews of Praxis. I’ve heard about it off and on for a couple of years. I’ve got a son in mind that I think might be a good fit. I loved that you noted some things about the interview process itself. VERY helpful. I’m curious…did either of your children apply and what was their experience?

    1. Actually, not yet. But we’re not ruling it out altogether; I still think it might be a good fit for my son when he decides he’s ready for his next step. Keep me posted if you go ahead with it!

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