Our Beam Apprentice Program works with our partner schools to provide an intensive apprenticeship experience to over 100 high school students per year. Beam Apprentices visit Beam Center two or more times a week for 15 weeks, working closely with engineers and artists to create a large-scale collaborative project. Past apprenticeship projects include: The Personal Planetarium, a welded-steel geodesic dome that maps the cosmos, and Current Translation, a twelve foot balancing sculpture with multi-media elements. In addition to learning technical skills, students also learn how to lead educational workshops for younger children. Apprentices who complete the program are eligible for paid summer jobs at community day camp and afterschool programs through a partnership with ExpandEd Options.
Building for the Community
Students from Brooklyn International High School built the shop furniture for their own schools’ FabLab, honing their fabrication skills and saving their school thousands of dollars. At Beam Center's workshop, apprentices teamed up to build professional-quality work benches. They also welded customized metal work shelves (picture above) to hold materials needed for their FabLab.
Large-Scale Collaborative Projects
Beam Apprentices work on large-scale collaborative projects to develop building skills and demonstrate the power of working together. The Personal Planetarium was a project inspired by the fascination with astronomy shared by Apprenticeship Leaders Heather Kramer and Bret Van Aalsburg. Since many NYC students don't regularly see star constellations, this sculpture created a "personal" night sky viewing station from steel, textiles, fiber optic cables, and electronic components.
Skills Training + Job Opportunities
Beam Apprentices learn not only technical skills, but presentation and teaching skills as well. During the program, the teens learn how to work with younger children and how to teach a series of 6 astronomy-themed craft-based workshops. Apprentices who complete the program receive both academic credit from their schools and employment in afterschool programs and summer camps around Brooklyn - creating a sustainable model for skill sharing and youth development.