What We Do

Apprenticeship Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving others by providing pathways to employment and higher education. Our mission is to deliver high-quality training and registered apprenticeship programs, connect employee candidates to meaningful family-sustaining employment, and support employers through employee recruitment and retention. We currently offer a one-year Certified Nurse Aide Apprenticeship and are actively developing additional programming.

Our Team

Michele Bourdo, B.Ed – CEO

Michele is an experienced leader of multiple schools with several third-party certified programs. She has led a successful national Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) school accreditation campaign.  She brings expertise in planning, organization, curriculum development, site management and coordination.  Michele is committed to growing the number of female and minority registered apprentices and hopes to help students reach their highest aspirations.

Karl Kaufman, RN – Business Development, Nursing Program Coordinator

Apprenticeship Institute Founder and business developer, Karl is a seasoned serial social entrepreneur who started and led three Michigan-licensed vocational schools which trained over 5,600 under-employed people for careers in licensed nursing, certified medical and certified energy efficiency careers. Karl says, “As a nurse, I am hard-wired to help others. I enjoy figuring out creative ways to serve people.”

Cheri Smith, Apprenticeship Coordinator

Experience managing and executing logistics for multiple non-profits and her background in construction management and real estate makes Cheri the perfect fit for her position.  She works closely alongside our employers to ensure a supportive and seamless experience; she oversees the admissions process and manages the admissions team, and works closely with both applicants and apprentices to support and keep them on track throughout their apprenticeships.

Charlie Sparks, Employer Relations Specialist

Charlie is dedicated to equipping people with the skills and resources they need for success.  With over a decade of experience in the culinary industry as a chef and kitchen manager, he understands how vital skilled and reliable employees are to any business. As the Employer Relations Specialist, Charlie is excited to share Apprenticeship Institute’s unique programming, and works hard to ensure fruitful partnerships.

Athena Kaufman, Candidate Support Specialist

With her background working with people with mental health and substance abuse challenges, Athena loves facilitating opportunities for people to experience growth and advancement in their lives and careers. In her role of Candidate Support Specialist, Athena ensures CNA Apprenticeship candidates are set up for success and receive all the help they need as they move into Apprenticeship Institute’s training and apprenticeship program.

Laurie Sparks, Marketing Specialist

With an extensive background working and volunteering in the non-profit world, Laurie brings a positive spirit and can-do attitude to her work with Apprenticeship Institute. As Apprenticeship Institute’s Marketing Specialist, Laurie manages AI’s social media platforms and crafts marketing assets as well as assists with candidate recruitment. She is particularly excited about Apprenticeship Institute’s unique program that gives people the opportunity to develop skills, self confidence and launch into career paths.