Conference to promote apprenticeships in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is urging employers in search of skilled workers to attend the 26th biennial Apprenticeship Conference to be held Jan. 26-28 in Wisconsin Dells.

“Wisconsin’s tried-and-true apprenticeship program is a key solution in meeting the skills gap, and this is one reason why my comprehensive agenda to develop Wisconsin’s workforce strengthens apprenticeship,” Walker said. “The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Apprenticeship Solution: Meeting the Workforce Challenge.’ This theme clearly expresses the conference’s goal to provide Wisconsin’s workforce system with tools to address the skills gap through apprenticeship training.”

The three-day conference will feature national speakers, more than two dozen workshops and an Apprenticeship Expo with interactive displays that are geared to teens and young adults. Students from school districts based in communities across Wisconsin are signed up to visit the Expo during the conference and learn more about career opportunities that Wisconsin Apprenticeship can provide.

The biennial conference is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council.

“It is at forums like the Biennial Conference that workforce partners share best practices, learn about new program innovations and discuss ways to keep apprenticeship at the forefront of addressing the skills gap now and in the years to come,” said DWD Secretary Reggie Newson.

Newson said the DWD in 2013 successfully reversed what had been many years of declining participation. Wisconsin had 3,067 new apprentices through Nov. 1, up 34 percent from last year and 22 percent from five years ago, he said.

The 2013-15 state budget invests permanent state funding to support the program. More recently, Walker signed legislation to allow reimbursement for apprenticeship-related instruction, 25 percent of the cost up to $1,000.

To sign up for the conference, visit the DWD website www.dwd.wisconsin.gov.

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