Billy originally created Apprentice Austin with a colleague as a program of the Austin Young Chamber in 2009. After 3 successful years, the Austin Young Chamber retired the program. Several years later when we began planning Billy's 30th birthday party, he had one stipulation: there must be a greater purpose. We bounced ideas around, but Billy kept coming back to the excitment he once had when developing Apprentice Austin.
With the blessing from the Austin Young Chamber, Billy's 30th birthday party became a fundraiser for us to relaunch Apprentice Austin. We use our personal networks to match college students to young professionals who can serve as a mentor. Together Mentors and Apprentices work through a 6 session goal setting program. Upon graduation, Apprentices are awarded scholarships to the Austin Young Chamber to continue working on their career & personal goals.
We continue to match students to mentors and assist schools and other communities in replicating the program.
Central Texas Signing Day
If Billy's passion project is Apprentice Austin, Central Texas Signing Day is Ashley's.
As a education advocate, Ashley was recruited to serve on the planning committee for the inaugural Central Texas Signing Day. Leaning on her previous admissions experience, Ashley served as the coordinator for the event's higher education partners. Inspired by the students in attendance, Ashley left the event on a high to be an even bigger champion for education equity.
As Ashley continued her involvement on the committee, we knew that the high from the previous year needed to be shared. Billy served as a volunteer the day of the event and when Ashley later moved into the role of chair of the event, she had one recruit for a committee member in mind-- Billy.
For several years now, we have served on the planning committee with Ashley still serving as the event chair. We continue to share that original high each year when the event brings together 1,000 high school seniors and celebrates their commitment to Reach Higher.