From motoemag.com: “Wigwam partners with Lakeshore Technical College to Engage Youth In Manufacturing” — Wigwam Mills, Inc. recently partnered with Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) to participate in the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program to get more graduating adults interested and involved in careers in manufacturing.

Youth Apprenticeships offer students in high school the opportunity to explore future careers while receiving school credit and pay for the work they are performing. The Youth Apprenticeship program is limited to high school juniors and seniors and covers a wide variety of job fields such as, Health, Finance, Hospitality, Culinary, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Manufacturing.

In addition to requiring the students to work a minimum of 450 hours on the job, they are required to take one job related class each semester at either their high school, if available, or at LTC. The student will receive college credit for any classes taken at LTC and the cost of tuition and books is covered by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce and Development. Last year, the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program placed approximately 65 students from 11 area high schools into various career opportunities with more than 30 area companies.

For the 2014-2015 school year, Wigwam has hired one student to participate in the Youth Apprenticeship program as a Knitting Mechanic. This student will work mainly 1st shift hours during the summer and then switch to partial afternoon hours during the school year. “Our hope,” said Jerry Vogel, President at Wigwam Mills Inc., “is that this student, as well as others involved in the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program, will develop a renewed interest in manufacturing and look to Wigwam as a career choice after graduation.”

From wausaudailyherald.com: “The future workforce is here, working” – By Donna Schulz-Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Northcentral Technical College – If you follow the news, you’ve heard about a shrinking workforce facing employers. As more baby boomers retire each year, employers need to find and develop individuals who will be able to support the growth of their businesses in the years ahead.

These news stories remind me of a public service announcement from television in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s; the question “Do you know where your children are?” was asked during the 10 p.m. news as a reminder to parents that it was important for them to know where their children were and what they were doing. It seems the question employers dealing with an aging workforce are trying to answer is, “Do you know where your future employees are?”

I can tell you part of the answer is that they’re right here in the community, going to high school (taking classes that might surprise you), and trying to find the answer to their own question, “Do you know where your future is?”

This past year, 309 juniors and seniors from 21 high schools within the Northcentral Technical College district were literally working to find the answer to that question for themselves by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program.

YA is a rigorous one- or two-year program that combines mentored, paid, on-the-job learning with academic and technical instruction related to a specific program area. That means students working at a local bank through a finance apprenticeship are studying business, math and financial management; students completing an apprenticeship in manufacturing are perhaps taking welding, machining and manufacturing classes; students working at a healthcare facility may have taken a nursing assistant course at NTC along with medical terminology, biology, anatomy and physiology at their high school.

These students are seeing a real-world connection between their classrooms and the workplace. An exit survey taken by high school seniors who finished their apprenticeships this year provides some thought-provoking data. Of 173 graduating seniors, 151 have plans to attend some type of post-secondary school. While 26 of these students hope to focus only on school, the rest have plans to work while in school. And here’s where it gets really interesting: 85 percent of those 125 students are continuing to work for their YA employer, and 71 percent will be majoring in a field related to their apprenticeship.

Based on these numbers, you can see that some employees of the future are here now, developing relationships with employers who are helping them find their futures. If you would like to learn more about opportunities to hire a youth apprentice, contact the youth apprenticeship coordinator at your local high school or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau at schulz@ntc.edu.

From livinglakecountry.com: “J&N Village Automotive takes over Village Car Care” — Sometimes meeting someone changes everything.

That’s what happened when Becky and Nick Bruss met in fourth grade and eventually, much later, married. It’s what happened when Nick met Josh Kiselicka in middle school, stayed friends through high school and eventually worked together as technicians at a car dealership. It also happened the day the three had begun looking at property to start their own automotive business in Mukwonago and met the broker that informed them long-time Village Car Care Center owners Roy and Linda Hafemeister were looking to retire and sell their location.

“It almost started like a joke,” Becky explained. “We were looking at buying just that land and putting up a small shop. There was a broker working with the former owners, and he walked over really just to say hi to my father-in-law, who was cleaning up, and started the conversation. It was not listed, so we didn’t even know it was for sale or an option.”

The trio officially took over the center March 22 and renamed it J & N Village Automotive.

Friends first

Nick and Josh are both 2000 Mukwonago High School graduates. They both completed the youth apprenticeship program that allowed them hands-on automotive experience and decided to pursue automotive studies at Waukesha County Technical College before getting jobs at the same dealership.

“We had four-wheelers we started working on, and when we got to high school we got more interested so we decided to pursue it further and then go to school for it,” Josh explained. “Most of it is because it’s just what we’ve been really good at.”

The two men worked together at the same dealership for a while but then at different ones taking sidejobs for friends and family on the weekends in a one-hoist shop.

“We’ve had a number of people tell us we should start our own shop,” Josh said.

Nick said it was important for him to find a location in Mukwonago that would suite their needs.

“We wanted to be in Mukwonago because this is where we came from and this is where our customers are,” he explained.

A space of their own

The trio said they were thankful to the Hafemeisters for developing a client base and for making the transition pleasant. Becky said she was also thankful to everyone who had followed the group to their new location and also those who are first giving them a chance.

As for the three who have been together for much of their lives, they are excited to be growing in what they love to do.

“Like (Josh and Nick) said, they’ve been working on the side so that means after work and weekends, so it’s really been eight years of not seeing him much, so right now (working together) is still in the honeymoon stage,” Becky joked.

Nick said working with Josh won’t change much for him. “It is nice. When we were at separate dealerships we’d call each other and ask questions, and now it’s like we’re back to where we started, so it’s a good thing.”

J & N Village Automotive also employs a third full-time technician and has even looked back to their roots, taking a student under their wing.

“We want to start him on the path where we were 14 years ago,” Josh said. “It’s like full circle.”

From fox11online.com: “Recruiting women for apprenticeships” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College says it’s getting the word out to women.

Construction jobs pay well, and companies are looking for apprentices.

Look around the average construction site, and you might notice a gender divide.

“Historically, it’s been about 96 percent male,” said Todd Kiel, the NWTC Apprenticeship Manager.

So is the apprenticeship program .

Only about a dozen of the 500 current apprentices are female.

At this info session Tuesday, NWTC urged interested women, like Delphina Orosco, to apply.

“I was looking to get into carpentry,” said Orosco. “Currently, I work at the casino, so there’s not a lot of room for advancement there. But here, there are a ton of advancement possibilities.”

NWTC says apprenticeships are cost-effective ways of job training. Students get paid to be in the classroom or out on a job site.

“Generally speaking it’s one day every two weeks you get paid your regular eight hour a day salary to be here for apprenticeship training,” said Kiel.

The U.S. Department of Labor says women make up more than half of the minimum wage workers in Wisconsin.

That means they make $7.25 an hour.

Jim Golembeski with the Brown County Workforce Development Board says skilled apprentices make a lot more.

“This one says anywhere between 12 and 24 dollars an hour for a carpenter journeyman,” said Golembeski, showing a listing on the Wisconsin Job Center web site.

Right now the Wisconsin Job Center lists 111 construction openings in Brown County alone.

“After a long drought in the construction industry, things are booming,” said Golembeski.

Hopeful carpenters like Orosco say despite the gender gap, they’ll take the chance on building a better life.

“I’m ready to take that on,” said Orosco.

The Brown County workforce development office says there is no guarantee of work, after you finish an apprenticeship program, because it’s too far out to know what the economy will do.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Conversation: Apprenticeship program needs business partners” — By Rich RymanPress-Gazette Media talks to business leaders in its weekly conversation feature. This week, Lisa Schmelzer of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce discusses the chamber’s Youth Apprenticeship Program.

The program is in its 20th year in Brown County.

Q. What is the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Apprenticeship program?

A. The Youth Apprenticeship program is a statewide school-to-work initiative offered by the state Department of Workforce Development designed specifically for high school students. It integrates academic and technical instruction with paid, mentored work experience at an area business. The program is facilitated for 10 area school districts in and around Brown County by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Q. How many youth are participating?

A. Of the 94 students we have participating in the program, we secured training site placements for 46, with many more students eagerly waiting to begin their on-the job training.

The breakdown of participants by school district is:

Ashwaubenon, 10; Howard-Suamico, 12; De Pere, eight; Denmark, eight; Green Bay, 26; Luxemburg-Casco, six; Pulaski, 11; Seymour, six; West De Pere, five, and Wrightstown, two.

Q. In which jobs are apprenticeships available? What determines availability?

A. The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Youth Apprenticeship program offers nine high-demand career areas with more than 40 career pathways.

Program areas, identified as high demand by the state Department of Workforce Development include:

• Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources, Animal Basics, Large Animal/Herd, Vet Assistant, Plant Basics, Crops, Greenhouse, Landscaping, Water Resources

• Arts, A/V Technology & Communications – Printing, Graphics

• Financial Services – Accounting, Banking, Insurance

• Health Science – Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant, Pharmacy, Ambulatory/Support Services (dietary, laboratory, imaging, optometry or physical therapy), Medical

•  OfficeHospitality, Lodging, & Tourism – Dining, Kitchen, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Travel/Tours, Grounds & Maintenance, Meetings & Events, Marketing & Sales, Management

• Information Technology – IT General, Hardware, Software

• Manufacturing – Assembly & Packaging, Manufacturing Processes, Machining, Operations Management, Welding, Equipment Maintenance

• STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – Engineering Drafting, Mechanical Design, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering

• Transportation, Distribution & Logistics – Auto Collision, Auto Technology, Logistics/Supply Chain Management

Q. What are the programs greatest needs?

A. The program is in immediate need of more Brown County area businesses tfor on-the-job training in many of the program areas, especially health, auto tech/collision, STEM, finance and welding areas

Q. Have you had to turn students away because of a lack of employers?

A. The program doesn’t turn students away; students start their industry-related classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in anticipation of the job placement. However, students who are not placed in an on-the-job training position are missing the most important and crucial components of the program: the opportunity to start building valuable employability and industry skills.

Q. Anything you’d like to add that we did not cover?

A. With the projected workforce shrinkage due to the anticipated “Silver Tsunami,” — the large number of Baby Boomers reaching retirement — the Youth Apprenticeship program can be part of the solution. We bring goal-oriented youth into workplaces and industry paths and create highly skilled workers to fill businesses’ employment pipeline. Students in the program now may be the full-time employees businesses hire down the road.

If you’d like to learn how participating in Youth Apprenticeship may serve as a pipeline to your future work force, please contact Lisa Schmelzer, Youth Apprenticeship program manager, at (920) 593-3411 or lschmelzer@titletown.org. More information on the program is available at www.titletown.org/YA.

From sheboyganpress.com: “Youth apprentices find positions with local companies” – Nick Steenwyk, of Sheboygan, is a computer aided design drafter in the bathing group for Kohler Company in Kohler. Like most CAD drafters, he performs tasks such as working with Creo software to create models and drawings of whirlpools.

Unlike most CAD drafters, Nick is currently a high school student at Sheboygan Christian High School. Through the youth apprenticeship program at Lakeshore Technical College, Steenwyk began working at Kohler Company.

“The best part of my YA experience has been working in a career field I’m interested in pursuing,” Steenwyck said in a news release. “Not only am I able to pick up skills and techniques that with be invaluable in years to come, my experience has been a tremendous help in determining a career field I want to enter.”

Steenwyk is not alone in Sheboygan County when it comes to Youth Apprenticeship. The Lakeshore Technical College Youth Apprenticeship program recently completed their annual Information Nights for high school students interested in the 2014-15 Youth Apprenticeship program. For the third consecutive year, the Sheboygan County Youth Apprenticeship program is seeing large increases in both student apprentices and employer participation.

Representatives from employers like Nemak, Rockline, Blue Harbor and Wigwam also are working with students.

Youth apprenticeship offers students the opportunity to explore future careers while they are still in high school and get paid for their time working at area employers. Youth apprenticeship offers one- and two-year programs in fields like health, hotel and hospitality, culinary, finance, mechanical design, welding and manufacturing.

The Sheboygan youth apprenticeship program has grown rapidly in the past few years, from 11 students in 2010-11 to 32 students in 2011-12. The program swelled to 68 students in the current school year. It’s expected that number will rise to 85 for next school year.

For more information on the LTC youth apprenticeship program, contact Jill Preissner at 920-693-1261 or jill.preissner@gotoltc.edu.

From htrnews.com: “Educators in career and technical education recognized” — CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College presented its second annual Top Tech Awards to recognize the top influencers in career and technical education in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties. The five awards were presented at a reception at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute on Feb. 20.

Educators from Manitowoc County were recognized with three of the awards.

• Rick Conrad of Manitowoc Lincoln High School serves as the school’s youth apprenticeship liaison, transition specialist, work experience teacher and tech ed teacher. Conrad was nominated for his role in the approximately 30 students a year from Manitowoc Lincoln High School participating in Youth Apprenticeship.

Conrad sets up job shadows for all Lincoln students, transitions special needs students into the workforce through a fundamental work experience program and coordinates more than 50 students in Lincoln’s work experience programs. He has worked with all departments on their career and technical education advisory committees, and is currently working with the tech ed department on its three-year plan and new course proposals.

• Marcy Kuhn and Amber Brewer, academic advisors and guidance counselors for Mishicot High School and Mishicot Middle School, respectively, also were presented with a Top Tech Award for their leadership, tenacity and passion for students’ post-secondary success. Their high school advisement period provides weekly lesson plans to each of the four grade levels to better prepare students after the end of high school.

Their Career Portfolio project implements student, parent, and school counselor meetings at key transition points in a student’s school career. During these meetings, the student’s strengths and areas of improvement, future plans, and goal setting are discussed with assessments aiding students and parents in their course choices and development of their four-year plans. This duo is sought after as a resource by other organizations and districts to replicate this success.

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