Wisconsin manufacturing apprentices increase

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.

More photos from this event

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