Dept. of Workforce Development: DWD Secretary Newson highlights youth apprenticeship successes with education, workforce partners at Beaver Dam employer

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

Collaborative School-to-work program builds talent pipeline, strengthens local manufacturing industry

BEAVER DAM – During a tour of Apache Stainless Equipment, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today said programs like Youth Apprenticeship are building the talent pipeline necessary to meet industry demand and move Wisconsin’s economy forward.

“Companies like Apache Stainless Equipment are participating in our Youth Apprenticeship program and filling their need for skilled workers, and at the same time helping area students obtain quality workplace training,” said Secretary Newson. “I applaud Apache Stainless Equipment in their ongoing effort to collaborate with the local school district and other partners to give Youth Apprentices the opportunity to gain experience and be considered for potential future employment.”

During his visit, Secretary Newson met with representatives from the company and Beaver Dam Unified School District, along with former and current Youth Apprentices, including current participant Michael Gerschke.

Gerschke said, “The apprenticeship program is important to me because it allows me to get a feel for a job in the manufacturing field. The insight I get from the program will allow me to better prepare for my future. Through the various job experiences, I have gained a better understanding of the expectations that go with the differing career paths.”

Pam Korth, Human Resource Manager at Apache Stainless Equipment, said: “The Manufacturing Business Alliance was created by manufacturers such as Apache Stainless that have jobs that leverage technology, create paths for career growth, offer continuing educational opportunities and have collaborative environments such as Youth Apprenticeship. When you couple on-the-job experience and mentorship with classroom learning, we are giving the apprentice tools to prepare for a career in manufacturing.”

Joe Kutzler Technology and Engineering Educator for the school district, said, “We offer the Youth Apprenticeship program to students to give them guidance, mentoring and an opportunity to start a career that requires a skill that is rewarding to them, and the companies they work for. I believe in apprenticeship programs and others like it, the skilled trades need is not going away, it is growing. Companies that support these programs and work with schools in their community will find that there are not only getting a quality workforce but helping build a strong community as well.”

Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with technical college-level instruction at the participant’s local high school. Those who complete the program receive a completion certificate, may receive technical college credit, and graduate with the skills and competencies need to accept an entry-level position in their field of study. In December 2013, Governor Walker signed 2013 Wisconsin Act 112, which increased state Youth Apprenticeship funds by $1 million in the current biennium.

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