March 3, 2014
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Employers do their part in apprenticeships” — By Donna Schultz, regional coordinator for the Youth Apprenticeship Program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau –Many local employers are actively working to develop our future workforce by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program.
YA allows high school juniors and seniors to work part-time in a career field they are considering for their future, while taking courses that support that career direction. Students learn from experts in the field and gain skills necessary for success in the world of work. The employers who hire these students benefit because they get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry.
Several employers in our area who support YA agreed to share their thoughts on the program:
“It is our pleasure at Bell Tower Residence to work in partnership with the Merrill Senior High School’s Apprenticeship Program,” said Sister Mary Anne Rose, director of resident services. “Mentoring the youth has been a win-win process for Bell Tower Residence and our residents for many years. Many students are interested in pursuing some type of career in health care. Getting experience working at an assisted living community helps the students make some important decisions regarding their future.
“The program helps youths develop people skills, responsibility and dependability. Witnessing the students become members of the Bell Tower team is very rewarding. Our residents enjoy meeting the students and often get to know them very well.
“It has been a learning experience for the youths in the program as well as for the Bell Tower employees who mentor and minister with them. These students are our future caregivers. It is a privilege to observe the growth in the students as they participate in the program,” Sister Mary Ann said.
“Peoples State Bank has mentored over 20 YA students in the past six years. Six students are working as apprentices currently, and four students who successfully completed the program continue to be employed at Peoples,” reported Dawn Borchardt, Operations/CSR Systems specialist. “Peoples is a community-owned bank that strongly believes in giving back to the community that has helped make us successful. In 2013, Peoples and its employees supported 400-plus organizations in north-central Wisconsin with over 6,900 volunteer hours and monetary donations exceeding $100,000. Our belief in seeing the potential also extends to the Youth Apprenticeship program. (It) is a fantastic way to help our youth discover a career path that is right for them, while giving them hands-on training, support, and tools they can take with them as they develop into young professionals.”
Mona Kraft, director of human resources at AROW Global Corporation in Mosinee agrees. “We’ve had great success with the youth apprentice program here at AROW Global in Mosinee for two years now. The students who work here seamlessly keep pace with their peers. They do equal work for equal pay, and it’s a great introduction into the workforce. AROW’s vice president and general manager, Scott Firer, understands that not all graduates have the option or desire to go on to college. He feels that working at AROW is an excellent alternative to learn a trade in a clean, fun environment that offers a competitive wage and benefit package.
“AROW Global is the leading manufacturer of windows for the North American transportation market. The students who work here are coming in at an exciting time as AROW’s present and future growth means nothing but opportunity for them. It’s a win-win situation for both the company and the students. As an employer, AROW benefits from hiring bright, engaged apprentices, and the students gain work experience along with obtaining school credit.
“When asked what our Mosinee students like about the program, Clinton Goethlich said he appreciates the ‘real world experience, and the way that the program allows us to tap into and broaden our interests.’ Jacob Schildt was most appreciative of the employer interest and involvement, stating, ‘It’s not every company that will go ahead and hire a bunch of kids.’ That’s true Jacob, but here at AROW, we think they should,” Kraft said.
The YA program covers a variety of areas from agriculture to welding. Employers interested in connecting with a student looking for an apprenticeship or learning more about the YA program, should contact their local high school YA coordinator or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.
February 25, 2014
From fox6now.com: “Increasing demand for apprenticeships as aging workers retire” – Want to get paid to go to school? With an apprenticeship — you can do just that! Through an apprenticeship, an individual has access to on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. A participating employer teaches the skills of the trade on the job. The classroom instruction is theoretical and practical knowledge pertaining to the given trade. It’s an option more and more students in Wisconsin are taking — with the growing need for skilled manufacturing workers in the state.
“The student works 32 hours a week and goes to class eight hours a week, but they’re paid for 40 hours a week,” Debbie Davidson with Gateway Technical College said.
In a nutshell, that’s how an apprenticeship works. Students get hands-on and in-classroom training in a service, construction or industrial field. Typically, the programs run anywhere from three to five years.
“Apprenticeship is really unique in that you start with an employer with a need and match them with an individual to go through the training,” Davidson said.
Officials with Gateway Technical College say the demand for apprenticeship opportunities has grown, as has the number of students enrolling in programs at the school.
“In 2012, we had a total of 49 apprentices. Then, a year later, we had 80 apprentices. Now we have 140,” Davidson said.
“We’ve already started plans on four brand new programs coming up and we know that we’re going to be doubling our numbers within a very short time,” Wisconsin Apprentice Training Representative Sandy Briezman said.
So what’s driving the renewed interest in apprenticeships? We’re told it’s a skills gap, fueled at least in part by soon-to-retire workers.
“The skills gap that we’re seeing now is what was projected even before the downturn in 2009 because people were planning to retire at that point. They stayed a little bit longer, but they kept aging, so now we’re seeing people are actually at that point of retirement and companies are seeing that we need to fill that gap — and before our people leave and retire how can we utilize them to train that next generation of worker?” Davidson said.
Davidson says the late 90s were really kind of the high point for apprenticeship programs.
The Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards says statewide, there were more than 15,000 apprentices in 2001. By 2012, they had dropped to about 9,700.
February 24, 2014
From madison.com: “As trades rebound, demand for apprentices grows” — By Dennis Punzel – If Donald Trump hosted “Apprentice Wisconsin,” he’d have to change his catchphrase from “You’re fired” to “You’re hired.”
As the economy slowly pulls out of its funk, the dormant construction industry is starting to experience a revival. And as construction cranes sprout up in the skyline, the demand for skilled workers across the spectrum of construction trades also is ascending.
“The problem the last several years has been a shortage of work for contractors in the construction industry,” said Wayne Belanger of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. “Now, it’s a shortage of workers. It’s critical.”
And when construction companies need skilled workers, they turn to the state’s venerable apprenticeship program to fill the void.
Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program, founded in 1911, was the first of its kind in the nation and led to the creation of the state’s technical school system.
“Wisconsin apprenticeship is still considered the leading model in the country,” said Jim Cook, apprenticeship manager at Madison Area Technical College. “In Wisconsin, everybody is at the table — employers, colleges, state government, labor organizations, employer associations.
“Apprenticeship here has survived all the economic and social upheavals of the last century. And because it’s done that, it’s going to survive for a long time.”
The most recent economic downturn, however, did take a toll on the system. As construction projects dried up, many firms had trouble finding jobs for their established journeyman workers and had no need to take on apprentices.
ABC’s apprentice numbers around the state plummeted from around 1,200 in 2006 to just a few hundred. The group sponsors apprenticeships in 12 trades, including electrical, carpentry, plumbing and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning).
“I don’t want to even think about how low it was,” Belanger said. “We’re back to 850 now. We’re on the rebound. It seems like there’s a pent-up demand, and people are putting projects together again.
“The trouble is that a lot of people in the trades have either retired or gone on to something else, and they’re not coming back. That leaves a huge void pretty much at all levels because they haven’t hired new people in the last five years.”
Statewide, the number of apprentices in all trades has dropped from 15,767 in 2001 to 9,793 in 2013, according to the state Department of Workforce Development Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (DWD-BAS). In the construction trades, the numbers have fallen from 8,890 in 2001 to 4,843 last year.
Belanger said the recovery has yet to hit many parts of the state, but that Madison is booming and the Fox Valley and Milwaukee are showing signs of life.
“In Dane County, there’s going to be a construction boom this year,” said Cook, noting that apprenticeships are up about 10 percent with 600 in the program at MATC. “The drive right now for economic development is fever pitch. The only other time we’ve seen this was around World War II, where you had this incredible need and a skilled worker shortage.”
One of the biggest challenges is convincing young people to look into apprenticeships after being pointed toward the four-year college route most of their lives.
“We do a lot of outreach to schools around the area and have more success at some than others,” said Mike Pohlman, president of Nickles Electric. “Some schools don’t seem to want to point kids to the trades.
“We certainly don’t dissuade kids from going to college. We always tell them the trades are another option after you graduate. We’re open to getting a kid into our program that has a four-year college degree.”
One who took that route is Pohlman’s son, Kaleb. After graduating from Marshall High School, he studied electrical engineering at UW-Milwaukee for two years before transferring to UW-Madison, where he earned a degree in civil engineering in 2009.
But with the job market dried up, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and pursue an electrical apprenticeship. He’s finishing up the fifth year of the program and just took the state exam with the hope of gaining journeyman status.
“They’re both gratifying,” Kaleb Pohlman, 28, said of his dual accomplishments. “When I got done with college I was like, ‘Wow, I did it.’ It was a long time and a lot of hard work and when I got done I felt great. Learning this and getting through this apprenticeship is just as much, if not more gratifying.
“I feel like I can do almost anything in the electrical trade. I can bend that conduit, I can run that wire, I can put that piece of switch gear up. You start feeling like you can do anything.”
Kaleb Pohlman’s goal is to use both parts of his education by working about five years in the field and then moving into project management.
“I went to school for a reason, and I did this for a reason,” he said. “I’ve put myself in a pretty unique situation that I think makes me a little more valuable.
“There’s a need for people who can do this stuff. In the next couple years as the baby boomers start retiring, the workforce is going to drop like crazy. There’s not as many people who do trades. That should bode well for people of my generation. If people want to do this, there should be a future in it.”
Apprenticeships, of course, are nothing new, as they date back to the middle ages. Ben Franklin was a printing apprentice; Henry Ford a machinist apprentice.
The state program offers apprenticeships in three broadly defined areas — construction trades, industrial/manufacturing trades and service trades.
Unlike their college-bound brethren, who frequently build up huge debts going to school, apprentices earn while they learn. Employer sponsors are required to pay their apprentices, starting at half the journeyman worker rate for that trade, with scheduled raises as they continue through the program.
Apprenticeships last three to five years with apprentices spending about 90 percent of the time on the job and 10 percent in the classroom. In addition to paying apprentices, many sponsors will also pick up all or part of the costs of tuition and books for the classroom part of the deal.
Upon completion of the apprenticeship and any licensing requirements, the apprentice receives a state certificate and a journeyman license and goes to work for the sponsoring firm. The construction trades tend to pay the highest, with the base pay for a construction worker at just under $33 per hour.
“It’s a great program,” said Greg Jones, CEO of Dave Jones Inc. “As a plumber, after a five-year program you can be making $70,000 a year with no student debt.”
Jones, 32, completed his apprenticeship in 2004. His father, Dave Jones, also went through the apprenticeship program and founded the company in 1977. The company now has 220 employees and 34 apprentices.
Phil Klahn, 23, got a head start on the five-year apprenticeship he is now finishing up when he started working at Dave Jones Plumbing part-time through a school-work program at Oregon High School.
“The trades were something I was always looking into,” Klahn said. “I wanted to work with my hands. I didn’t really think I could sit behind a desk my entire life.”
Klahn said that, like most high school graduates, he felt the pressure to go to college, but the work-study program opened his eyes to other options. And unlike many of his former classmates, he’s finishing his education with no student loans.
“I was lucky because I knew right away this was what I wanted to do,” said Klahn, who hopes to someday become a project manager or field superintendent. “Everybody thinks that plumbing is backed-up sewers and leaky faucets and leaky pipes. There is a service end to it, but right now I’m working on a 12-story apartment building in downtown Madison. There’s a lot more to it than people understand.”
Klahn’s advice to young people pondering their future?
“I just say keep your mind open to the apprenticeship program,” he said. “It might not be for everybody, but I tell people to at least look into it.”
Mike Pohlman of Nickles Electric thinks that message is spreading, and he emphasizes that the trades are actively recruiting a diverse workforce.
“This whole industry is changing,” said Pohlman, who began his apprenticeship in 1979 and rose through the ranks to become company president. “People are understanding that the trades are a pretty good option these days.
“Our city’s going to keep growing, and we’re going to need people to build it.”
February 4, 2014
From thenorthwestern.com: “Oshkosh schools working to build apprenticeship” – After years of lagging behind other districts, the Youth Apprenticeship program in Oshkosh is getting a push from the school district and chamber of commerce to offer high school students work experience in a variety of careers.
The Oshkosh Area School District hasn’t historically had a strong apprenticeship program, because the curriculum wasn’t developed enough to meet their requirements or there weren’t employers to sponsor them.
Still, businesses in Oshkosh have consistently been involved in employing students through cooperative education programs, or co-ops, Julie Mosher, OASD director of curriculum and assessment, said. The youth apprenticeship program asks them to take that partnership to the next level.
Wisconsin’s YA program is part of a statewide school-to-work initiative and integrates school-based and work-based learning. Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes and employed locally under the supervision of a skilled, worksite mentor.
Oshkosh’s effort to expand apprenticeships comes at the same time that Gov. Scott Walker is pushing to increase funding for the programs. Walker announced in January that Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program would receive additional grants totaling more than $226,000, and Cooperative Educational Services Agency 6 in Oshkosh received $18,747 of those funds.
CESA 6 serves 42 schools in seven counties to coordinate programs and services between schools, districts and the state.
Tania Kilpatrick, CESA 6 career and technical education coordinator, said YA is an important opportunity for students to test drive a career.
“When you’re looking at a workforce, economics, building the pipeline of future employees,” she said. “Any opportunity that you can give kids options for education I think is important.”
Changes to the requirements for apprenticeship programs have changed, while the district’s strategic plan has an increased focus on ensuring students are college, career and community ready.
“With the new checklist and the new requirements that matched our curriculum and matched our philosophy a lot better,” Mosher said. “We felt that we could possibly start getting employers to match up with it.”
With that in mind, the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help create partnerships with local businesses.
Two apprenticeships were recently secured with Bergstrom Automotive.
Marc Stanga, a senior at Oshkosh West, is an apprentice at the Bergstrom GM division in Oshkosh. He works for a few hours each day after school and on Saturdays, where he’s learning alongside a mentor to become a GM-certified auto technician.
So far the 17-year-old has learned how to do oil and headlight changes, check fluids and more.
“It’s teaching me the basics of being an auto mechanic,” Stanga said, adding the mentor has been a key part to what he’s learning.
Stanga plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College, where he’s enrolled in the GM program.
“My whole life I’ve wanted to be an auto mechanic,” he said. He thinks the youth apprenticeship will be a big help to getting a job in the future and hopes to receive a scholarship from the program as well.
Stanga said he’s loving his apprenticeship because it’s really hands on.
“It’s like a paid internship,” he said. “You really can see if you really like to do what you were planning on doing.”
Stanga is also working on live cars in a lab at West for the curriculum part of his apprenticeship.
The college-level learning uses standards for 11 different areas that are put out from the national Automotive Service Excellence Certification, Mark Boushele, transportation technology instructor at West, said.
“The homework is all right in front of you,” he said. “So you actually see … the progress that you’re doing and working with.”
Apprenticeships have benefits for both students and employers.
Students gain a valuable, real-world connections between the curriculum and work. There’s no bad internship experience because of the skills one learns during it, Mosher and Patti Andresen-Shew, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce education and workforce coordinator, said.
Even if students end up not wanting to go into the career, it teaches the importance of showing up on time, flexibility and adaptability, as well as how to work under pressures and stress, Mosher said. Plus, learning they don’t like something can be just as important.
A long-term investment
YA is a heavier load for both students and employers than co-ops because of the mentorship requirement and need to complete a checklist of requirements laid out by the state. Many different scheduling factors have to line up in order for it to work, Mosher said, which is why co-ops have worked out better in Oshkosh in the past.
Juniors and seniors have to apply for the program, and then they have to nail an interview with the employer to get the position. The courses for the program have to fit with the high schools’ schedules, and that has to line up with lab, clinical or work schedules. Students also need to complete a certain amount of hours working on the job.
“All these stars have to align,” Mosher said.
Though it’s a commitment for employers to train, mentor and pay the students, in many cases it’s a long-term investment.
The State Department of Workforce Development said 85 percent of YA students are offered jobs at the end of apprenticeships, which can be more effective than finding workers through recruiters or advertising. Employers have said it also inspires current employees to be even better workers.
“We like to hire locally and have had great success hiring people early in their work life, who can then learn and become a part of our culture and grow with our company over the course of their career,” Tim Bergstrom, President and COO of Bergstrom Automotive, said in a statement.
“The Chamber and our local school system have come together to provide us with a unique opportunity to find just this type of candidate to become a potential long-term team member,” Bergstrom said.
YA is not limited to any one kind of career or student, Mosher said. There’s room for all Oshkosh students, whether they go on to a two or four-year school, into the military or directly into the workforce.
Mosher and Shew would like to see the program expand to include more career paths. Agriculture, communications, tourism, and information technology are just some of the possible programs listed on the Department of Workforce Development website.
Shew and Mosher are actively looking for more employers to participate in YA, as well as students who want to explore their interests in an apprenticeship setting.
Career exploration is the most important aspect of YA, they said.
“We want our students to explore their career options and have a plan,” she said. “That plan may change, but at least they have a plan and they’ve done some thinking behind it.”
January 20, 2014
From gmtoday.com: “Apprenticeship program numbers increase in Wisconsin” – MADISON – As companies and workers realize the value of apprenticeship program, the involvement in them is increasing, reports Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson.
“Wisconsin’s economy is improving, employers are hiring and increasingly taking advantage of our Wisconsin Apprenticeship program so that workers have the right skills,” Newson said in a statement. “The unemployed and underemployed also see this proven on-the-job training program as one way to get a good job. The numbers last year show it. We saw growth in all three major trade sectors, construction, manufacturing and services, the best we’ve growth we’ve seen in three years.”
According to the DWD, new apprentice contracts in 2013 increased by 31 percent compared to 2012 and by 56 percent compared to three years ago. The increases by trade sectors were:
•Construction – new apprentices, 1,570, the biggest increase, 51 percent compared to 2012 new contracts and 73 percent compared to new contracts three years ago.
•Industrial/manufacturing – new apprentices, 581, a 9 percent increase compared to the 2012 new contracts and 75 percent compared to new contracts in 2010.
•Service – new apprentices, 1,199, a 22 percent increase compared to the 2012 new contracts and a 29 percent increase compared to 2010 figure.
The 26th Biennial Apprenticeship Conference, The Apprenticeship Solution: Meeting the Workforce Challenge will be held Jan. 26 to Jan. 28 in Wisconsin Dells and will include a special Apprentice Expo for high school students. The conference program includes nationally recognized speakers Anirban Basu, president and CEO of SAGE Policy Group and Mark Breslin, founder and CEO of Breslin Strategies. Dan Ariens, president and CEO of the Ariens Company will also speak at the conference, co-sponsored by DWD and the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council.
January 6, 2014
From onmilwaukee.com: “Pastry Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer: Through the eyes of an apprentice” – World renowned pastry chef Jacquey Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School and author of the new book “The Art of French Pastry,” has won countless accolades for his tireless pursuit of perfection in pastry.
He has also been recognized for his exceptional mentorship, which he has extended to dozens of pastry students from Wisconsin. Some, like Chef Kurt Fogle of SURG Restaurant Group, who Pfeiffer mentions by name as a star pupil, have gone on to make their own marks on the world of pastry.
On January 12, Fogle and a team of some of the city’s finest culinary talent – including Chefs Justin Carlisle of Ardent, Matt Haase of Rocket Baby Bakery, Andrew Miller of Hom Woodfired Grill and Jarvis Williams of Carnevor — will host a dinner honoring Pfeiffer. The five course dinner will serve as a celebration of his life, his work, and his new book.
The menu is being kept under wraps, but Fogle says each chef will be pulling out the stops in an effort to pay homage to Pfeiffer.
“We all work together, and we’re all a little competitive,” Fogle remarks, “So, you know everyone is bringing their A-game. There’s something–without trying to sound like too much of a weirdo — about watching five guys really going for it. To be a person in the room experiencing those dishes.”
Fogle has a particular investment in the dinner, since Pfeiffer was a key influencer in setting the direction of his career.
During his tenure with Pfeiffer, Fogle was one of very few Americans who had the privilege of taking part in the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition (Best Craftsmen in France), a competition captured in the documentary, “Kings of Pastry.”
NPR’s Ella Taylor remarked, “Kings of Pastry is about the craft, the teaching and learning, the collaborative work, the tedium, the heartbreak and emotional backbone it takes to make something lovely, even if that something is destined to disappear down a gullet in seconds — and even if the maker ends up a noble failure.”
“The whole damn experience was indelible,” Fogle says. “Working with Pfeiffer was two years of just having my mind blown day after day. And it was exhausting. Nothing will ever be harder than that. Nothing. I’m going to continue to challenge and push myself, but that’s the highest level.”
Working together created a professional and personal bond between the two chefs. Fogle says Pfieffer continued to be his mentor even after he left Chicago. In fact, it was Pfieffer who encouraged Fogle to move back to his home state of Wisconsin after completion of the competition.
“Since I was 15 working at O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, I had a passion for this part of the culinary world, and Pfeiffer encouraged me to come back and see where I could enhance pastry here,” he says.
He credits Pfeiffer with launching his career, as well as setting the direction for his art.
“To sum it up,” Fogle tells me, “He’s one of the best pastry chefs on the planet, and in turn I’m one of the luckiest apprentices to walk the planet.”
He went on to talk about some of the things he took away from his experience.
“I don’t want to say I didn’t learn to cook from him,” Fogle explains. “But what I really learned is how to think, how to be organized. He didn’t teach me how to bake, he taught me how to think.”
And for Fogle, part of that experience was learning that he could do anything to which he set his mind.
“One of the first things you learn from him is that anything is possible, because if it’s impossible we’re just going to create a technique or a tool or a trick to make it happen,” he tells me. “It wasn’t how to hold a spatula and fold mousse. It was the commitment and philosophical aspect I gained – learning to be tenacious and resourceful so that when I get out into the real world… when I don’t have a proofer or a sheeter– and I have an oven with hotspots hotter than Mercury — that I could still put out a great croissant.”
Fogle, who has known Pfeiffer since 2006, says he’s more than just a great teacher and pastry chef.
“He’s really really good at foozeball and ping-pong,” Fogle goes on. “Like he makes me feel bad about even playing against him.”
But, Fogle says his gentle disposition is what really makes Pfeiffer exceptional.
“In all the time I’ve known him, he’s never raised his voice,” he explains. “He’s the sort of guy who just makes you want to do things better – whether it’s pastry or what it is… he just never loses any steam. He’s ok going back and back and back and making things better and better. That’s really what rubbed off the most.”
Fogle, who teaches part-time at MATC in their culinary department, says he learned a great deal about teaching from Pfeiffer.
“I think the most important thing that I learned from him is that you have to be patient, and you have to let people struggle through it… a good example is that he was trying to teach me how to pipe something. I was struggling with holding the bag and not moving it. A couple of years later I realized I was doing it properly. But, I don’t know when it happened. He instilled in the idea that you just need to do it and do it again.”
So, when he teaches, Fogle says he always keeps that in mind.
“The fact is, I can’t talk you into being a good pastry chef, and I can’t make you into a great chef. But, I can be there for you and work with you and help you get there.”
Sounds like the sort of teacher we’d all love to have had.
December 20, 2013
From wxpr.org: “Gov. Walker signs Youth Apprenticeship bill in Rhinelander” – Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill in Rhinelander that he says will help employers get more skilled workers to companies. Youth Apprenticeship integrates high school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in skills defined by Wisconsin industries. It works with local school districts and the area technical colleges.
Stopping at Nicolet College to sign the Youth Apprenticeship Walker says the bill passed both legislative chambers with just one “no” vote, showing broad bi-partisan support. The program is already in action, but the new funding enlarges the program. 1900 students went through the program last year Walker says…
“….many of our employers across the state, particularly our small and mid-sized employers would add more work but they’re a little bit resistant to do that right now until they know they can fill the positions they have for things like high-skilled welders, CNC operators, machinists, tool-and-dye operators….”
Walker says manufacturing jobs pay more, have more benefits and workers stay longer than many other jobs.
November 27, 2013
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Youth Apprenticeship builds workforce of the future” – Mosinee High School has participated in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program since 1995. During that time, over 350 students participated in this unique work-based learning program. YA allows juniors and seniors to work part-time in a field they are considering for their future, while taking high school courses that support that career direction.
As the School to Career coordinator, one of my responsibilities is to supervise students in this program. From my perspective, this program has literally changed the lives of some of our students. They have learned to “walk the walk” and gain those skills necessary for success in the world of work while finding out if that career direction is right for them. I asked students to share their thoughts on participating in this program.
“I applied for youth apprenticeship so I could gain work experience in a professional environment. What I like most about my position is the face-to-face contact I have with customers. I learned I am very interested in the business field and would enjoy a career in it. After high school, I will be attending UW-Whitewater for business management with a minor in finance/insurance.”
— Kevin Zimmerman, BMO Harris Bank, Mosinee
“I work at the desk taking calls, doing health history updates and confirming appointments. I also help clean work stations, assist with sterilization, X-rays, charting, restocking and sealants. I applied for an apprenticeship because I was thinking about going into dental hygiene. I like that I am learning more about the field, and I like working with people. I’ve learned I can work really hard if I put my all into it, and that I work really well with people and as a team. After graduation, I plan to attend NTC to become a dental hygienist.”
— Rachel Schulte, Family Dental, Mosinee
“I help manage the school’s website and assist with technology problems throughout the district. I applied for YA so I could work in the field I want, as well as for the recognition that comes with YA. I enjoy working in a field that I am very knowledgeable about, and I can use my knowledge to efficiently do whatever task is at hand. I’ve learned how to manage and handle multiple projects at once, completing them efficiently and to the best of my ability. After high school, I plan to attend college for a degree in computer science.”
— Noah Warren, Mosinee High School
“I am a CNA on the Surgical/Orthopedics floor. I was interested in a job in healthcare and thought work experience now would help me gain an insight into what my future career might entail. At Saint Clare’s, witnessing the strength of people pushing through less-than-desirable circumstances to overcome obstacles has become the most inspirational thing in my life. I enjoy the interactions I have with people much more than I ever dreamed possible. I proved to myself that my communication skills are critical in the medical field. I plan to attend UW-Madison to pursue a degree in genetics and continue on to medical school with my ultimate goal to become a physician.”
— Halee Nieuwenhuis, Saint Clare’s Hospital, Weston
“I help design processing systems for many big name companies. I applied for YA because I wanted to learn first-hand what the work environment would be like in my selected field. My favorite aspect of my job is working with Auto-Cad. The most important thing I’ve learned during my YA experience is that I insist on being perfect at a lot of what I do. Once I graduate from high school, I plan on going to a four-year college to become a mechanical engineer.”
— Andrew Hilgemann, A&B Process Systems, Stratford
“I help prep food on Saturdays, and during the week I work up front helping customers. I applied for YA because I thought it would be a good experience, and it looks good on college and job applications. I like working with people and working “hands on” rather than just sitting behind a desk. I’ve learned that I work well with others in stressful times and what teamwork really is. After high school I plan on working until I find out what I would like to do with my life.”
— Morgan Plautz, Culver’s, Cedar Creek, Rothschild
As you can see, Youth Apprenticeship provides students with experiences that will benefit them throughout their lives, but YA also benefits every business involved with the program. Employers get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry, and they have the opportunity to shape their future workforce. YA covers a variety of areas from agriculture to welding.
Employers interested in connecting with a student looking for an apprenticeship should contact their local high school YA coordinator or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.
November 26, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Mayville Engineering plans to expand, hire 100 workers” – Mayville Engineering Co. is planning to expand five of its plants in Wisconsin, resulting in 100 new manufacturing jobs, the company said Monday.
The expansion is the result of orders from existing customers as well as new work the company has landed, said Mayville marketing manager Brian Johnson.
Mayville Engineering Co., is an employee-owned firm based in the Dodge County community that shares its name. Mayville is about 55 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
Nationwide, the company employs about 2,000 people and generates more than $300 million in sales.
“We’re putting in some pretty significant equipment and we have to hire a bunch of people, so we’re trying to get the word out,” Johnson said.
“We’ve been successful at getting really good people in here and we’re in one of those situations right now where we need to get some more,” Johnson added. “It’s a good place to be.”
The new jobs will be primarily at the company’s two plants in Mayville, two plants in Beaver Dam and a plant in Wautoma. The company also has two plants in Neillsville in west-central Wisconsin, as well as plants in Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.
“We have a number of new products that we are launching with some key customers in the agriculture, construction and power sports industries,” Johnson said.
Mayville Engineering specializes in making the parts used to build equipment ranging from large trucks to agricultural equipment to all-terrain vehicles. It does prototyping, production manufacturing, fabricating, tube forming, coating and assembly services in a variety of markets.
“We’re a key supply chain partner for a number of the large original equipment manufacturers,” Johnson said.
Company leaders realize they are hiring in a marketplace where demand is high for skilled labor. “That is something that we hear a lot,” Johnson said. “It’s no small challenge.”
The company’s position as an employee-owned business gives it an advantage when seeking to attract workers, he said.
“When they are looking at opportunities, we find that a lot of people are interested that they have a chance to earn stock in the company,” Johnson said. “That’s kind of a compelling advantage that we have.”
The company also has successfully entered into partnerships and apprenticeship programs with Moraine Park Technical College and Mayville High School.
The company is hiring for skilled manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters and material coordinators.
But the company also wants to hear from folks who might not have significant manufacturing experience. “Even if it’s not a long one, if they have a good work history that they can show us, we’re looking for good people who are going to fit into our culture,” Johnson said.
Growth and expansion at Mayville Engineering is an example of the positive part of what is proving to be an up-and-down performance of manufacturing in recent times. Manufacturing is a key sector of Wisconsin’s economy.
Diversification is key
“The recovery has been so uneven,” said David J. Ward, CEO of NorthStar Consulting Group, a private economic consulting and research firm in Madison. “There’s no pattern.
“We’ve had nothing out there that would say to manufacturers or anybody else, ‘Hey we’re on a roll,’” he said.
An important aspect for manufacturers is to have business across sectors, Ward said.
“Certain sectors are doing OK. Others, they’re not contracting or anything, they’re just kind of bumping along,” he said.
Having a diversity in business is exactly the strategy that Mayville has pursued.
“We really transcend a lot of different markets,” Johnson said. “So, if one market might be having a hard time, we have other markets that are growing.”
Job fair Dec. 7
Mayville Engineering will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at its Dodge County headquarters, 715 South St., Mayville, to recruit for manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters, and material coordinators.
October 18, 2013
From canadianmanufacturing.com: “Bridging the Skills Gap” – New Richmond, WI—A new partnership has been forged between industry and education, with Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc., and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), both in New Richmond, Wisconsin forming a joint apprenticeship venture.
“We’ve been working together on this project since last spring,” says Nancy Cerritos, WITC academic dean of trade and technology. “Bosch is very proactive and realizes it will lose a significant portion of its skilled work force in New Richmond and Shell Lake over the next five to seven years. They wanted to create apprenticeships – which we have available and can develop — to create a better skilled work force for the future.”
Adds Mark Hanson, manager, continuous improvement coordination and technical functions at Bosch Packaging Technology: “We tried to hire local workers, but it’s not a densely populated area, and we have a need for highly skilled workers, so we had to come up with a new approach.
“By utilizing our strong relationship with WITC and the state we were able to custom-design a program that gives us the skilled workers we need.”
The program includes electro-mechanical technician and machinist apprentices. The electro-mechanic apprenticeship—the combination of an electrician and mechanic—is the first of its kind in the state and is now considered a new trade in Wisconsin.
Two WITC programs participate in this flagship effort: the Automated Packaging Systems program and theMachine Tooling Technics program, as these two WITC programs are best represented in the work at Packaging Technology.
The opportunity to become an apprentice was opened to Bosch employees, and four stepped up. Machinist apprentices are Josh Marquand and Brant Couch. Electro mechanical technician apprentices enrolled in the Automated Packaging Systems program are Philip Taylor and Paul Petty. These four apprentices will complete their respective program over a four or five year time span, while also working at Bosch.
What makes the program unique is what the participant receives at the completion of the apprenticeship – five years for an electro-mechanical technician and four years for a machinist – an Associate’s degree in technical studies, a technical diploma and a State of Wisconsin Certificate of Apprenticeship, commonly known as a journeyman card. A traditional apprenticeship usually results in only the journeyman card.
Upon acceptance in the program, the apprentice signs a contract with the State of Wisconsin that they will meet the obligations required for a journeyman card. During the apprenticeship, Bosch is responsible for ensuring the apprentices meet the minimum requirements, as well as assigning a shop-floor trainer and mentor to each apprentice.
The apprenticeship program works very closely with Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Department through Travis Ludvigson, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, who produced the contract the apprentices signed. At WITC, Randy Deli, divisional dean of trade and technology, coordinates the college’s apprenticeship opportunities.
Once accepted in the program, apprentices receive a salary and benefits for their 40-hour-a-week schedule, during which they split time between on-the-job-training and classroom work. In addition, the program covers the cost for tuition and tools needed for coursework. Outside of the program, the normal curriculum requires classroom attendance for 30 hours a week, leaving little time for job training.
“This was a great opportunity for me,” says Taylor, one of the new apprentices. “It’s a perfect scenario, I get to continue working at Bosch, and in five years I’ll have a degree, diploma and journeyman card that will benefit my career and family.”
October 17, 2013
From iwantthenews.com: “Amerequip earns regional youth award” — Amerequip, a manufacturer of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets, will receive the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s Youth Apprenticeship Award at the Excellence in Manufacturing Partnership Awards on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.
The award is one of several to be given out at the event, which will spotlight best practices of manufacturing/education partnerships throughout the New North region.
Amerequip has a long standing commitment to ongoing educational programs. in particular, Amerequip has been an active participant in several innovative internship and apprenticeship programs offered through the State of Wisconsin and several of Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
Lakeshore Technical College nominated Amerequip for the award for its partnershp with the Sheboygan Youth Apprenticeship program, which provides training and job skills while students are in high school. The firm currently has five high school apprentice students training with them in the areas of welding, quality assurance, engineering, assembly and machining, with the goal of growing the program to 10 students annually going through the Amerequip program. As a result of Amerequip’s lead in the YA program, other small local manufacturers have joined the effort, with 65 students now participating in the program.
October 4, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “New MATC scholarship targets construction trades apprentices” – Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. is investing $200,000 over 10 years in scholarships for Milwaukee Area Technical College apprenticeships in the construction trades, according to a Thursday press release.
The “Jim Elliott Apprentice Scholarship for the Construction Trades” will award an initial group of 20 MATC apprenticeship students with up to $1,000 to help cover expenses for equipment, clothes and tools.
The scholarship honors Jim Elliott for his service to the construction trades in Milwaukee and to the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates board of directors.
“Wisconsin has a long and proud history of valuing apprenticeships,” said Richard George, Great Lakes Higher Education’s president and CEO. “By helping hard-working students complete an apprenticeship, this scholarship will help them build good careers for themselves and their families, and stronger communities for us all.”
Applications will be provided to eligible MATC students and are due Dec. 2.
“Construction apprenticeships are a valuable opportunity for those seeking to improve their skills and have a great career,” said WTCS president Morna Foy. “We appreciate the ongoing partnership with Great Lakes that makes this sort of opportunity possible for our students.”
September 18, 2013
From WSAU.com: “Northcentral Technical College expands Dairy Science programs” – WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – This year marks the second anniversary of the Northcentral Technical College Agricultural School of Excellence, and the program is running stronger than ever.
Students are starting to graduate from the program after doing training at the Center, and NTC VP of learning Shelley Mondeik says they’ve been placing all their graduates. “At this point, the students that we’ve surveyed have had 100 percent employment, so we’re very excited.” Students have been getting jobs working in cattle sales and trading, running farms, and working as farm hands while they continue their training.
The dairy sciences program at NTC has been expanding as well, and Mondeik says they’ve got more to offer students. “When we started we only had the one dairy science degree. As of today we’ve got three associate’s degrees, one technical diploma and an apprenticeship, so it’s just more and more offerings for the students.”
Mondeik says that apprenticeship program is really helping retain farmers and keep the dairy tradition alive. The program pairs students with a master grazer who works with the school, and they go through about 4000 hours of training over the course of the program. “Once that person achieves those hours, they have the potential to be an expert in dairy grazing.”
If you’re interested in the dairy sciences program, contact NTC through their website at http://www.NTC.edu or call the college at 715-675-3331.
August 29, 2013
From jsonline.com: “MPS takes a look at intensive technical training proposal” – What has proven to be one effective way to get Wisconsin high school students at risk of dropping out to earn their diploma and reinvest themselves in their future?
Pay them to do it.
That’s what the rapidly expanding GPS Education Partners, formerly the Second Chance Partners for Education, has been doing for more than 10 years in the state.
But these students aren’t just taking handouts. They’re earning their pay by working nearly full time in various businesses — primarily within manufacturing and similar technical fields — while also taking classes toward their diploma year-round on-site.
This fall, the group, which boasts a 90% high school graduation rate and 203 graduates to date, is seeking to expand into Milwaukee Public Schools and serve eight to 10 students across the city in its first year.
The group’s contract goes before the School Board for approval Thursday night, and the administration backs the approval of the program, according to MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia.
The city would be the 16th site in Wisconsin for GPS Education Partners. If the contract is approved, the group would have 215 students enrolled in the 21-month program, which relies on partnerships with businesses and school districts to function.
In Milwaukee, students would likely be selected from interested applicants at Bradley Tech High School, James Madison High School and the School of Career and Technical Education, formerly known as Custer High School, according to Tagliavia.
Those students would spend time working at Strattec Security Corp., Monarch LLC, Brady Corp. and others, according to an announcement from the education nonprofit earlier this summer.
The selected students typically are chosen because they have struggled or have become disengaged in a traditional high school setting and are interested in pursuing a technical career after high school. During the program, the students rotate between two to three different businesses and learn six to 10 different manufacturing jobs over the 21 months. Students typically begin the program in their junior year.
For six hours a day, students work alongside an adult mentor in manufacturing plants or warehouses and learn different skills, from welding to skills with technology and heavy machinery. For two hours a day, the students converge in a classroom on-site at one of the businesses and are taught traditional academic material by a state certified teacher.
In addition to a diploma from their original high school and graduating with their class, the students earn a two-year Youth Apprenticeship Certificate from the state Department of Workforce Development and earn advanced standing in the Wisconsin Technical College System. They also become a certified production technician though the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council.
Both Tagliavia and MPS’ Career and Technical Education coordinator Eric Radomski said the program fits into MPS’ mission because it provides another pathway that could contribute to success for the students involved.
“Our goal is that students graduate with the skill set necessary to succeed in whichever path they’re interested,” Tagliavia says.
Tagliavia says the program’s successful track record makes him optimistic that the program will succeed in the city. The organization has worked in surrounding suburbs as well as cities such as Green Bay and Appleton, but MPS will be the first time GPS has operated in a completely urban setting.
GPS President Stephanie Borowski says she is confident the model will translate effectively into the city, saying there is a high level of flexibility within the classrooms because of the low student-to-teacher ratio, which consistently hovers around 8-to-1.
While MPS has many other programs that are geared toward introducing students to technical fields and preparing those interested in the field for that pursuit, GPS Education Partners would be the most intense technical program within the district.
While other programs offer students the opportunity to work in such a setting, none goes as far as educating the students on-site in a classroom at one of the businesses.
Garrett Crish graduated, by virtue of the program, from Menomonee Falls High School in 2009.
To this day, Crish, who now works in a New Berlin warehouse, credits the organization with turning his life around.
“I can honestly say that the Second Chance Program changed my life. I was on the fast track to nowhere, and at the time I couldn’t have cared less,” Crish says. “Working in real warehouses with real hardworking people was the strong kick in the butt I needed as a 17-year-old.”
Crish, 23, said that while the program did not directly land him a job upon graduation, it gave him the tools and work ethic he needed to impress during a seasonal job at a warehouse that eventually landed him a full-time job at the New Berlin distribution center.
David Mitchell, president and CEO of Monarch LLC, which has worked with the group since 2010 and typically brings in two students each year through the program, will add one MPS student this year if the contract is approved Thursday, he said.
The company, which specializes in the fabrication of heavy equipment, allows the students to develop welding skills.
Mitchell says one student excelled during his time with the company and was in turn hired on upon his graduation as a welder.
Borowski says 60% of past students have gone on to immediately seek work after the program, 35% have continued on with their education beyond high school and 5% join the military.
For the business, the cost is “relatively low,” Mitchell says, though Monarch does not break even on the program. He says he looks at it as giving back to the community as well as preparing the next generation of the workforce.
GPS Educational Partners maintains its financing through donations as well as shared per-pupil allotments from the state with participating districts and contributions from participating businesses.
HOW IT WORKS
■ Students rotate among two to three businesses and learn six to 10 manufacturing jobs over 21 months.
■ For six hours a day, students work alongside an adult mentor in manufacturing plants or warehouses.
■ For two hours a day, students converge in a classroom on-site at one of the businesses and are taught traditional academic material by a state certified teacher.
August 26, 2013
From beloitdailynews.com: “Employers, educators discuss student preparation for work” — By Hillary Gavan - Representatives from business and education joined together to discuss new ways to get students trained for the workforce at the 7th Annual Business Education Summit held Thursday at the Eclipse Center in Beloit.
Sponsored by the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, School District of Beloit and Beloit College, the day’s theme was “Workforce Development – Are You Ready?”
At the event the 2nd Annual Business/Education Partnership Award for the business sector went to Blackhawk Bank accepted by CEO Rick Bastian. The award for the education sector went to the School District of Beloit, accepted by Superintendent Steve McNeal.
Beloit City Manager Larry Arft and McNeal welcomed crowds, and McNeal said it was a blessing to have forward thinking people to move the school district ahead.
McNeal noted there is non-referendum money being put into the Beloit Memorial High School’s new Technical Education Programming Space demonstrating the district’s commitment to getting kids into jobs. The School District of Beloit and City of Beloit, he said, are undergoing joint efforts to train kids for the workforce which rival any in the state.
After the Vice President of ManpowerGroup’s Global Strategic Workforce Consulting Practice Rebekah Kowalkski gave her keynote address, Economic Development Director for the Rock County Development Alliance James Otterstein gave a presentation on Inspire Rock County, a web-based career readiness platform which connects students with businesses and mentors and other resources to investigate careers and apply for jobs.
Susan Dantuma, from Blackhawk Technical College, talked about the college’s youth apprenticeship programs and Bob Borremans, from the Southern Wisconsin Workforce Development, spoke about the Work Today Program where employers in the program pay to have workers trained for job openings at their companies.
Business/Education Partnership Committee Co-Chair Jim Agate said he was pleased with the roundtable discussions which returned this year so educators and the business community could brainstorm together. In the past he said takeaways from the discussions included ideas which were implemented such as mock interviews and the lunch and learn program.
Agate said after Thursday’s events new plans would begin forming.
“We will put all our notes together and move forward,” he said.
Business/Education Partnership Committee Co-Chair Rick Barder said all of those on the Business/Education Partnership Committee put together a program and agenda that was relevant in today’s world with many takeaways for both the businesses and the education community.
Beloit City Manager Larry Arft said the event was a unique opportunity for educators and business as well as government leaders in the community to interact and to share perspectives regarding the needs of public education.
August 14, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “Wisconsin manufacturing apprentices increase” — By Jeff Engel - A wide-ranging marketing campaign by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development aimed at drumming up interest in manufacturing apprenticeships has apparently shown results.
In April, DWD began promoting apprenticeships through billboards, public service announcements on TV, videos on its website, flyers and brochures for workers and advertisements on the Packers Radio Network, the state agency said. It worked with ad agency Laughlin Constable to develop the outreach effort.
Through the first half of the year, new apprentices increased 30 percent year-over-year to 1,383, according to the DWD Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. From April 1 through June 30, the number of manufacturers participating in the state program increased by 67 companies compared with the same period last year, DWD said.
One of those additions to the program is Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., now a registered apprenticeship employer. DWD Secretary Reggie Newson visited Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant on Monday.
With the agreement, Ocean Spray will start by sponsoring three apprentices in maintenance technician apprenticeship training. The Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.-based company produces canned and bottled juices and juice drinks.
“Ocean Spray’s ability to expand our markets and products is directly tied to our ability to find employees with the right skills,” said Tim Peoples, Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant director. “We chose to start an apprenticeship program at our Kenosha plant to develop our work force while providing growth opportunities.”
The program combines on-the-job training with a journey worker and classroom learning, often at a technical college. Apprentices are enrolled for four to five years, with wages increasing along the way. They graduate from the program with a nationally recognized certification.
The average annual wage in manufacturing is about $51,400, more than $10,000 above the average annual wage for all occupations in Wisconsin, DWD said.
August 12, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Former FVTC student earns honor” – Ryan Huss, Appleton, journeyman electrician with Faith Technologies Inc., earned the 2013 Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Apprentice of the Year award and was recognized for his exemplary performance in apprenticeship training during the organization’s annual recognition banquet in Wisconsin Dells. Huss, a military veteran with two tours of duty, completed his ABC of Wisconsin electrical construction apprenticeship training at Fox Valley Technical College this past May.
FVTC is the state’s largest provider of apprenticeship training. The award is one of three annual forms of recognition on behalf of ABC of Wisconsin made to individuals who demonstrate a high-level commitment to continuous education through apprenticeship.
July 29, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “MPS, GPS Education Partners receive Wisconsin youth apprenticeship grants” – Gov. Scott Walker on Friday announced $1.86 million in Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship grant awards to train high school juniors and seniors in the upcoming school year, including students across the Milwaukee area.
The North Central WI School-to-Career Partnership received the largest grant: $225,599. Grants also include $139,871 for Waukesha County STW Partnership, $132,351 for GPS Education Partners and $40,608 for Milwaukee Public Schools.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development administered $1.6 million in grants last year for the skills training program, which trained about 1,900 students at more than 1,300 employers. More than 75 percent of those who finished a two-year youth apprenticeship scored a job with the employer that provided their training, Walker’s office said.
“Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship helps students train for in-demand careers,” Walker said. “The program is a key part of our goal to equip workers with the skills employers need and to help workers succeed in those jobs. I am pleased that we will build on the success of this program by serving hundreds of additional students this year through strengthened collaborations and innovation among local partners.”
This year’s grants will go to 31 regional consortia across Wisconsin. The number of student participants is still being finalized.
Those groups include school districts and alternative education programs, such as GPS Education Partners, formerly known as Second Chance Partners for Education, which has been rapidly expanding.
Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program began in 1991 and includes 40 occupations. Students complete on-the-job training with the employer and receive technical college-level instruction at their local high schools. At the end, they have earned a program completion certificate, potential technical college credit and the skills necessary to be hired into an entry-level job.
July 26, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “FVTC students learn tools of trade” — By Larry Avila - GRAND CHUTE — Mark Gedamke left his mark on Fox Valley Technical College.
When he was enrolled in the college’s apprenticeship program, he and some of his classmates assembled a working cascading timer circuit, which is used as a hands-on learning tool and resembles a device used for controlling industrial machinery.
“It was an opportunity to make something that other people could use and get some hands-on learning,” said Gedamke of Waupun, an industrial electrician at International Paper in Fond du Lac. He and his classmates were inspired to make the device when other students suggested it would be helpful to learn how to use and troubleshoot problems on real-world equipment if they had a functioning learning tool.
Apprenticeship programs in Wisconsin received $1.8 million in funds after the Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2013-15 budget into law. The programs have been used by people through the years to learn an assortment of skilled trades from construction to manufacturing, an effort the state wants to continue, said Reggie Newson, secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development, who visited FVTC on Thursday and toured the college’s apprenticeship training areas.
“When we looked at options and policies to train workers in Wisconsin, apprenticeships were one of those tools we wanted to focus on,” Newson said. “It’s a tried and true training program to get on-the-job practical experience and help employers get the workers with the skills they need.”
Newson said the state’s apprenticeship programs had received federal funding, but those dollars were dwindling, which is why the state devoted funds to it.
There are more than 7,000 active apprentices in the state now, including 3,545 in construction and 1,286 in manufacturing. Newson said partnerships between businesses and technical colleges make those programs effective.
“It’s a great way to earn while you learn,” he said. “Apprentices are learning in the classroom but getting real-world experience at the same time.”
Gedamke said his apprenticeship lasted four years but it was time well spent.
“The time was well worth it because I learned so many things through it that I use in my daily work,” he said.
Mike Cattelino, associate dean of FVTC’s manufacturing division, said apprentices spend about 10 percent of their time in the classroom and 90 percent in the field.
That relationship is helpful so the college can adjust training programs based on input from students and employers to ensure skills needed are taught.
“We just play a part in this cycle,” Cattelino said. “As apprentices spend time in the field, it helps us (shape) our education here.”
June 14, 2013
From weau.com: “Wisconsin’s first Diesel Technician intern” – With summer vacation finally upon us, some local students are looking to work rather than relax in the sun.
The Youth Apprenticeship program has run through the Department of Workforce Development to help Eau Claire Area School District students for a little more than a decade. But one local high school student at North High School is getting an opportunity that no one else in Wisconsin can say they’ve done.
“I rather be doing this then something else, better than sitting at home,” said Kohl Lamke, North High School student.
Getting dirty and working on heavy equipment is what Kohl Lamke calls summer vacation.
“Grew up liking trucks and anything that can move dirt worked for a couple farms, just wanted to work on something I like to do,” said Lamke.
Now Kohl can say he’s the only one in the state working as a Diesel Technician as a high school student.
“I was surprised when they told me that I was the first one to go through because I thought more people would be into this,” Lamke.
“He himself made the first contact out here at Nortrax,” said Kristan Motszko, ECASD School to Careers Coordinator.
Eric Hutchins the Service Manager at Nortrax in Chippewa Falls says he wishes he had this opportunity because his first semester in college he worked toward being a teacher.
“Give them an opportunity if that’s something they want to do, versus going to school spending the money, getting into the mainstream and deciding it isn’t what they wanted to do,” said Hutchins.
Kohl even gets the chance to work on equipment like a 70,000 pound articulated dump truck during his year long internship.
Kristan says each student completes around 450 hours of hands on experience over the course of a year.
“He’ll do coursework. He’ll do hands on work. He’ll travel with a field technician out to job sites. He’ll work with skilled people, anything from cleaning to services to adjustments on equipment,” said Hutchins.
It’s more than just work that students like Kohl get to learn.
“Showing up on time, doing what you’re asked, taking initiative to do something. Don’t just stand around and wait to be told what to do,” said Motszko.
“Industry wide has a shortage of people and to have students and people interested in the career is exciting,” said Hutchins.
“You just gotta try it, if you don’t like it you’ll find out right away nothing hurts to try it,” said Lamke.
June 6, 2013
From agriview.com: “Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: Multiple possibilities” – The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is an opportunity for beginning farmers to “earn while they learn.” It’s the first legally recognized, fully accredited apprenticeship for farming in the U.S. This GrassWorks initiative provides a “guided pathway” to independent farm ownership, or as an alternative, a management post on a grass-based dairy.
Aspiring and/or current beginning graziers (i.e. Apprentices) are linked to veteran “Master” graziers for on-farm training/employment, while Apprentices also go through formal classroom schooling. The aim is to transfer dairy farms, equip new dairy producers to establish operations of their own, or provide the industry with highly skilled dairy-farm managers.
Joe Tomandl III, a Medford dairy grazier featured this week on Agri-View’s front page, is program director for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, and administered through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (similar to development of Master plumbers, electricians or other skilled trades). A Journey Dairy Grazier is the credentialed equivalent of a technical school degree, says Tomandl.
DGA is comprised of 4,000 paid hours of on-farm training over two years (the equivalent of a full-time job). An Apprentice is getting paid by the Mentor Dairy Grazier, Tomandl explains. Most of those hours are on-farm experience under the guidance of an approved Master Dairy Grazier, who is aided in transferring knowledge and grazing prowess by following a job book for competencies provided by DGA. The Master Dairy Grazier pays the Apprentice on a pay scale established by the program.
The remaining 288 hours are paid related instruction, which include courses through the Wisconsin Technical College System and University of Wisconsin as well as participation in pasture walks, farming conferences and peer-to-peer discussion groups.
Tomandl says it’s required that Apprentices attend the UW School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers’s grazing seminar, broadcast remotely throughout the state during the winter months. They also take an on-line soils class offered by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and three seminar-style classes from Northcentral Technical College at Wausau on topics like dairy health and milk quality. Apprentices are even reimbursed for time spent in class.
Participants become Dairy Grazing Apprentices, Journey Dairy Graziers, and finally Master Dairy Graziers. DGA also provides Apprentices and Masters financial planning services through Cadwallader Consulting, LLC, and is developing models of equity building, farm start-up, and farm transfer.
DGA, which will be two years old in July, has “graduated” Journey Dairy Graziers. Tomandl says three now have their own farms, and one is managing a farm. Nine Apprentices are placed on farms at present (seven in Wisconsin and two in Minnesota).
Tomandl says there’s a sizeable candidate list – everyone from high school grads to mid-lifers looking for a second career. Applicants, who must be 18, fill out a profile on the DGA website (www.dairygrazingapprenticeship.org) which only approved Master Dairy Graziers can access. Potential Master Dairy Graziers (i.e. mentor/employers) also fill out applications on this website, to be approved by an oversight committee. Tomandl says a Master must have five years experience minimum in managed grazing and be “serious about mentoring.” They undergo an interview and farm visit (by Tomandl).
DGA then “back away” and lets the Master Dairy Graziers (of which there are 23 at this time) peruse the candidates to find someone they feel would be suitable to mentor/employ on their farm.
DGA is funded by a federal grant from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within USDA. Tomandl notes that Wisconsin’s program may serve as a “national template,” for expansion nationwide.
Tomandl says there’s a need for Master Dairy Graziers. Why become one? In part, to shape the future of Wisconsin’s dairy industry by sharing and transferring knowledge to a next-generation grazier. Master Dairy Graziers also gain a motivated Apprentice who will be an asset to their operation during the learning process. The established farmer also receives assistance in exploring new models of farm investment and expansion, equity building and possible farm transfer. Not only is this a way to pass a grass-based dairy farm to a beginning farmer but it might also be a way for an existing operator to expand, by perhaps investing in a second farm or satellite operation, which a graduated Journey grazier manages and/or eventually buys into.
Tomandl sees DGA eventually going a step farther with investment by agribusiness and others with an interest in seeing stable-to-increasing dairy farm numbers in Wisconsin. Perhaps, he muses, “Joe Farmer” is ready to sell his farm, but doesn’t want to do a land contract with a beginning grazier – specifically, a Journey Dairy Grazier. Still, he’d really like his farm to remain as a viable, independent operation n the future. Tomandl is hopeful that eventually DGA could help secure capital that could help establish that Journey Dairy Grazier on Joe Farmer’s farm, instead of Joe Farmer selling off his herd and the land swallowed up by cash-cropping or converted to some other use.
Tomandl stresses that DGA is looking for industry support and will be rolling out an industry-sponsorship campaign in the near future.
Just because grazing is DGA’s chosen method of establishing new dairy farmers in the business doesn’t mean the model can’t work for that producer who, let’s say, has a 55-cow conventional dairy, Tomandl points out. While that operation might not cash flow for a young farmer to farm it conventionally, it could be transitioned to grazing relatively easily, with a bare-bones parlor, fencing and lanes, so that next generation might take the cow herd up to 150 and cash flow the enterprise. He foresees both outside investors of various sorts and even farmers looking to reinvest in the future of agriculture purchasing even a conventional dairy farm, putting the “best of the best” on it to manage it as a grass-based dairy.
That Journey Dairy Grazier might secure a Farm Service Agency beginning farmer loan, purchase cattle and equipment, and lease that farm for five years or so, and then start buying in. No matter the “pathway,” the ultimate goal is that a farm be transferred to a young farmer, Tomandl stresses.
This producer thinks Wisconsin agriculture needs creative solutions. With the average age of a farmer in the mid-to-late 50s, in the next two decades, he says this country will see a “huge land transition.” Wisconsin agriculture has an opportunity to “sculpt what agriculture looks like” down the road. He thinks that a conventional 55-cow dairy can easily be made-over into 120 to 150-cow grazing operation that’s financially viable for a well-trained beginning farmer to operate and expand.
Tomandl believes grazing as a tool for transitioning farms is “smart business” for the dairy industry, and it makes good environmental sense, too. He encourages industry, farmers near retirement and/or those looking to creatively expand their operation, as well as, of course, people looking at making dairy farming their career to visit DGA’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tomandl at 715-560-0389.
June 4, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College honors apprentices” – Thirty apprentices were honored recently at Lakeshore Technical College’s annual Apprenticeship Completion Banquet at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.
The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs, according to a news release. In those programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.
Keynote speaker Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, recognized the apprenticeship completers and relayed his own personal experience as his mother works as a machinist and his father as a welder.
“Without apprentices, we wouldn’t have many of the modern conveniences we have today,” Newson said. “Apprentices have made things simple, convenient and have been driving innovation for years.”
Apprentices from Manitowoc County who were recognized at the banquet, including their apprenticeship area and sponsoring employer, are:
Francis Creek – Marshall Marquardt, carpenter (construction), Hamann Construction Co.;
Manitowoc – Russell Buretta, tool and die maker, LDI Industries; Eric Chase, machinist, KNM; Jason Hastreiter, machinist, HG Weber & Co.; Bruce Heimerman, maintenance mechanic, Federal Mogul Corp.; Matthew Heinzen, tool and die maker, Manitowoc Tool & Manufacturing; Brian Hetue, maintenance mechanic, PolyOne Corp.; Adam Korte, industrial electrician, Parker Hannifin Corp.; Daniel Luckow, machinist, Stecker Machine Co.; Jarek Ordiway, machinist, LDI Industries; Hayden Schmidt, machinist, Jagemann Stamping Co.; Paul Senn, maintenance mechanic, LDI Industries; Ryan Tollefson, sheet metal worker, Aldag Honold Mechanical; and
Whitelaw – Dennis Bratz, maintenance mechanic, Nemak.
May 9, 2013
From lacrossetribune.com: “State officials pitch apprenticeship program” – What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question asked of every child, and the answers aren’t encouraging for manufacturers.
“Wisconsin is facing a skilled workers gap,” said Jonathan Barry, deputy secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development. “We constantly run into business owners that are having trouble filling skilled positions.”
Barry visited Trane’s Engineering Technology Center in La Crosse on Wednesday to promote the state’s apprenticeship program, a state-school-employer partnership that aims to increase the pool of skilled workers.
“Employers want to hire people who have experience,” Western Technical College President Lee Rasch said, which leaves applicants wondering, “If you don’t have experience, how do you get experience?”
The apprenticeship program allows employers to target promising candidates and offer their own on-the-job training combined with classroom study. Workers get trained while earning wages; the average apprentice made $161,000 during their tenure, which lasts between two and six years.
Here’s how the program works:
The DWD lays out core training and job experience standards for several industries and then customizes the process for each employer. Employees spend about 80 percent of their time on the job and 20 percent in theoretical classroom training, usually provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System.
But sometimes there’s just not interest.
“There’s a mantra that manufacturing is dumb, dirty,” Barry said. “It’s simply not the case. It’s not just bending metal all the time.”
Begun in 1911, the program is nothing new in Wisconsin, but it’s taking on new urgency as more companies lament a skilled worker shortage.
Enrollment dipped by about a third, down to about 10,000, in the past decade, a slide that mirrored general economic trends.
A Georgetown University study found that the skills gap will leave almost a million jobs vacant, most of which already exist and would need refilling after retirements.
A recent La Crosse School District survey cited by Rasch found that only 2 percent of students planned to pursue manufacturing careers.
“Everyone has a dream of going to college,” the district’s Career and Technical Education Coordinator Annette O’Hern said. “And when you have a dream of going to college you don’t think about manufacturing.”
Much of Wednesday’s event focused on finding ways to introduce manufacturing to students in middle school and high school.
“I really believe that’s where it’s at,” Trane’s La Crosse plant manager Brad Tacheny said.
Barry emphasized that the program isn’t trying to squelch four-year colleges but offer a realistic, necessary alternative to the “college paradigm.”
“We need to expose young people to the full range of their choices as early as possible,” he said.
The La Crosse School District is hoping to ramp up that exposure. They plan to introduce an Engineering Academy — also covering manufacturing and architecture — next year. The academy will partner with Trane to provide real-life context and expose kids to manufacturing plants.
The district already offers classes in welding and manufacturing, but they’re not always popular.
“We can’t always get a lot of students interested,” O’Hern said. “We’d like that number to be bigger.”
Parents worry about job security and have encouraged children to pursue white-collar studies and a traditional four-year education.
Karen Morgan, director of the Bureau of Apprentice Standards, called on businesses to take initiative.
“We don’t have enough employers that are actually using the apprenticeship programs to train,” she said.
Barry said schools and state programs shouldn’t be the only ones reaching out to students.
“We in the business community need to be doing some of that,” he said.
The apprenticeship program isn’t just for manufacturing. It offers three trade sectors — construction, industrial/manufacturing, and service, which cover careers from plumbing to cosmetology.
The continuing education helps reinforce that such careers have advancement options, Morgan said.
“It’s only the beginning of their career,” she said. “It’s not a dead end.”
April 11, 2013
From waow.com: “Secretary of Workforce Development calls for more state businesses to partner with schools” – WAUSAU - Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson traveled to Wausau’s North Central Technical College. Newson called on more state businesses to get involved in apprenticeship programs to bridge a skills gap and meet employers needs.
Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to have an apprenticeship program. It dates back to 1911. As the business climate has changed, Newson says business and schools must partner to meet changing workforce needs.
He says technical schools provide the training programs business leaders need and employers can provide high paying jobs that can move workers into the middle class.
February 5, 2013
From biztimes.com: “Apprentices begin new manufacturing program” – Students at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek begin the first apprenticeships today in the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician program.
There are seven students enrolled in the course from a range of area manufacturing companies. They will receive intensive instruction in the apprenticeship, which was added to help train workers for jobs with area manufacturers who need industrial manufacturing technicians.
It was developed by the DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and MATC, and is partially funded by a federal Sectors Alliance for the Green Economy grant.