URBN and Drexel launch manner apprenticeship and paid get the job done software

Donald Whorley had a total scholarship to study manner at Kent State University in Ohio, when he determined to implement to a new plan in Philadelphia. It was too tricky to get to New York Trend 7 days from the place he was finding out and observed the chance to get the job done at a brand he admired even though finishing coursework pleasing.

The software appeared like a “a match created in heaven,” the 18-year-previous from Washington, D.C., reported.

This week, URBN, the Philadelphia-founded corporation at the rear of City Outfitters, and Drexel College launched a new trend program that aims to break down boundaries of entry into the marketplace. The two-yr apprenticeship presents learners no cost classes at the college while gaining hands-on expertise operating aspect-time throughout URBN models at the company’s headquarters in the Navy Lawn. The program is envisioned as an alternative monitor into the vogue sector — just one that does not have to have a regular 4-calendar year higher education diploma.

Whorley is 1 of 6 learners selected to participate in the program’s initial cohort.

‘It’s about who you know’

Breaking into the vogue market has its issues.

In advance of youthful folks even think about their programs after significant faculty, there are hurdles that may possibly hold some out of the vogue business, mentioned Rachel Ford, proprietor of Built Institute in Philadelphia, which gives courses in vogue.

“A good deal of young children, specially in Philly, really do not have artwork courses so they really don’t have the potential to make a portfolio that would obtain them entry into a four-12 months college,” she said.

Then there are family members fears and pressures about earning a living in the arts, she reported.

About two several years back, URBN leadership started to consider by means of how it could invite much more expertise into the sector.

“What we felt and what we ongoing to see and listen to in the business was that there was a whole lot of creativeness being still left on the table and remaining unrecognized,” said Matt Strode, chief persons officer at URBN.

Whorley, who created an LLC for his fashion model in eighth quality, reported one particular of the hardest elements about breaking into the trend sector is realizing how to construct a network.

“It’s not about what you know, but it is about who you know,” he mentioned. “If you never ever obtained to the home to know any person, it is type of really hard to make your way.”

URBN began possessing inner conversations about an apprenticeship-design and style software in slide 2021 and approached Drexel in early 2022. They started to structure the software past summer time and opened apps in January of this year, with finalists selected in Might.

By design, the intention for the software was “to attain out to communities of college students who would not have usually considered higher education,” reported Denise Marie Snow, software director of range plans and partnerships at Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal Faculty of Media Arts and Style and design.

“It’s a sport changer in terms of getting rid of limitations to entry,” she mentioned.

The software is totally funded through a grant from URBN that covers students’ tuition, home, and board. There is ample funding for two cohorts.

The inaugural course of students began orientation on Monday, with students from California, Maryland, New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.

When not taking courses in manner structure at Drexel, students will rotate as a result of the design groups at City Outfitters, Free Men and women, and Anthropologie. They’ll also interact with the production, sourcing, and purchasing groups to better fully grasp the everyday living cycle of a product from designer to customer. Apprentices will be compensated $20 an hour for their work at URBN and will break up their time similarly involving lessons and get the job done.

Apprentices who successfully complete the system will be able to remain on at URBN or go on operating toward a diploma at Drexel, placing them up on their job route in the industry.

“We would adore to convert just about every and each and every just one of them into comprehensive-time roles inside of the organization,” mentioned Strode.