Department of Workforce Development: Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson announce available youth apprenticeship grants for the 2017-18 school year

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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GRAFTON – Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson visited RAM Tool, Inc. today to announce the availability of grants to sustain and expand local Youth Apprenticeship (YA) efforts across the state during the 2017-18 school year. Today’s announcement comes during Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, which the Governor proclaimed for the month of February to highlight and encourage CTE programs throughout our K-12 system.

“Wisconsin’s nationally recognized Youth Apprenticeship program continues to grow as a key talent development strategy under Governor Walker’s leadership,” said Lt. Governor Kleefisch. “The program effectively helps employers address the skills gap and provides students with a career pathway that allows them to transition from academics to the workforce with state skill certifications, college credits and real world work experience.”

Wisconsin invested $3.2 million in Youth Apprenticeship grants last year to provide high school juniors and seniors with access to innovative school-to-work solutions that effectively prepare them to enter the workforce. Funding supports work-based learning opportunities at nearly 2,300 businesses across 10 career clusters for more than 3,000 youth who were paid an average wage of $9.66 per hour to graduate on track and learn job skills. The top program areas for participation are Manufacturing with 665 enrollees and Health Services with 564 enrollees.

The Governor’s 2017-19 budget proposal sustains YA funding with the ability – based on demand – to increase support for YA programs through an additional $5 million in one-time funding in fiscal year 2018 for grants to technical colleges to support collaborative projects among technical colleges, school districts and businesses.

DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson said, “Employers, like RAM Tool, are critical to the success of the Youth Apprenticeship program. Their commitment ensures that more Wisconsin high school students obtain high demand job skills to fill good paying jobs and help our economy continue to grow.”

YA is authorized by state statute to help high school students who thrive in a hands-on learning environment gain academic and technical instruction with mentored on-the-job training in an occupational area of interest over one or two years.

“As an employer, we recognized the workforce shortage long ago,” Shelly Pollum, RAM Tool President said. “We understand that engaging youth is critical to our success and the industry as a whole, which is why we participate in Youth Apprenticeship. Manufacturing has a wide range of job opportunities and we encourage more youth the explore industry careers.”

Youth Apprentice Jacob Yanke said, “Youth Apprenticeship and RAM Tool have provided me with a great opportunity to learn manufacturing skills while still in high school. I started out doing basic work in the shop, and today I run state-of-the-art machinery. I am so appreciative to DWD for making this program available.”

Local YA programs are operated by regional consortiums that may include: school districts, Wisconsin Technical College System institutions, employers, registered apprenticeship programs and participating labor organizations, chambers of commerce and other workforce and economic development organizations. State General Purpose Revenue makes competitive grants available to DWD-approved YA consortiums to support student and employer recruitment, education, training and evaluation.

Grant guidelines encourage YA consortiums to connect with employers who offer Registered Apprenticeships, bridging Wisconsin’s model programs to provide high school students with a seamless transition from work-based learning into apprenticeship training and good paying jobs. The deadline to submit applications for the 2017-18 school year is April 10, 2017.

Find grant details online at:

Learn more about Youth Apprenticeship at:

*NEW* Youth Apprenticeship Success Story Video: