The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Youth Apprenticeship program integrates school-based and work-based learning, providing high school juniors and seniors with instruction in employability and occupational skills as defined by Wisconsin industries. Employers across the state participate in YA to help find employees and to develop local workforces by creating a recruitment pipeline that is loyal to local businesses and the community.
Wisconsin invested $3.2 million in YA funding during the 2015-’16 school year, helping nearly 2,300 businesses that paid more than 3,000 youth an average wage of $9.66 per hour to graduate on track and learn job skills. YA program success resulted in a funding increase to $3.9 million for the upcoming school year, enabling more than 4,300 students to participate in the program.
DWD launched the YA to be a Registered Apprenticeship career “bridge” in early 2016, providing another effective strategy to help employers address the skills gap. The bridge concept provides a seamless transition between the state’s premier YA and RA programs, which includes gainful employment. Currently, Wisconsin offers three bridges in manufacturing.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Ave., Madison
Wisconsin’s nationally recognized Registered Apprenticeship program provides a value-added training model with broad industry engagement for as many as 11,000 apprentices and 2,500 employers annually. RA enables employers to build a customized skills training system, immersing trainees in company culture while helping them earn good-paying, family-supporting wages as they learn a high-demand trade.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $175 million for 46 American Apprenticeship grants, including $5 million for the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Growth and Enhancement Strategies (WAGE$) project. The five year WAGE$ grant will train 1,000 new apprentices and upskill 542 incumbent workers by expanding existing programs in three sectors: Advanced manufacturing, health care and information technology.
WEDC’s Seed Accelerator Program
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s Seed Accelerator Program provides grants to eligible communities, nonprofits, mission-based organizations and other organizations to support pre-seed businesses. Programs must incorporate training, mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurs in their service or mission area. Grant funds may be used as seed capital for companies in the accelerator, as well as for costs associated with administering the accelerator program.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
201 E. Washington Ave., Madison
Contact: David Volz, (608) 210-6773
Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act Youth & Young Adult Program
This program is for individuals ages 14 to 24 who may face hurdles to a future of meaningful employment because of one or more life circumstances. The program offers eligible individuals a variety of services to help them prepare for and succeed in school and work environments. To learn more about the WIOA Youth & Young Adult Program, contact your nearest comprehensive job center (found online at jobcenterofwisconsin.com).
WIOA Youth & Young Adult Program
WisConnect Internship Coordination
In July 2017, DWD launched WisConnect, a free website to match college students with Wisconsin employers offering internships. The website is designed to help Wisconsin employers meet their current and future workforce needs by growing tomorrow’s talent today through internships. It also provides an important tool to attract and retain college students in Wisconsin during school and after graduation, which will help support a strong Wisconsin workforce for years to come. Going forward, it will track participating students, employers and the number of internships in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee NARI Foundation
The education and charitable arm of the Milwaukee NARI Home Improvement Council Inc., the Milwaukee NARI Foundation Inc., is working to attract future professionals to the remodeling industry through community activities, education and scholarships.
“The Milwaukee NARI Foundation works with many secondary and post-secondary schools throughout southeastern Wisconsin to encourage and prepare students for careers in the home improvement and remodeling industry,” said Chris Holum, Foundation president. “We help students explore career options, ask questions and get hands-on experience.”
The Foundation supports scholarships to assist the professional training of individuals entering the home improvement and remodeling field, including endowments at Milwaukee Area Technical College and Waukesha County Technical College. It also sponsors the Carpentry TeamWorks competition with SkillsUSA. The Foundation has presented more than $180,000 in scholarships, equipment and supplies to students attending trade and technical schools.
Milwaukee NARI Foundation
11815 W. Dearbourn Ave., Wauwatosa
High School CNC Boot Camp at Gateway Technical College
In partnership with the Workforce Development Board, the High School CNC Machine Tool Operator Boot Camp is a first step toward becoming a machine operator working on CNC vertical and horizontal mills and CNC lathes. With this preparation, students can then follow the CNC Pathways, which would lead to becoming a set-up operator and beyond to a career as a CNC programmer, engineer and/or supervisor. These experts program and run accurate, computer-controlled tools to mill, shape and grind metal into precise shapes. This Boot Camp is being offered to students who are at least 17 years old and are enrolled in their senior year of high school during the 2017-’18 school year.
Gateway Technical College
3520 30th Ave., Kenosha
Contact: Todd Nienhaus, (262) 638-6541
Dual Enrollment Academy
Waukesha County Technical College’s Dual Enrollment Academy is designed to provide high school seniors with a head start in jobs in high-demand fields while providing them an opportunity to earn college credits prior to high school graduation. The initiative awards participants with a WCTC diploma (upon successful completion) along with high school credits.
Students spend the majority of their school day during both fall and spring semesters of their senior year at WCTC participating in the Dual Enrollment Academy. There is no cost to the high school student for participation in this program; however, students will be required to provide their own safety equipment (e.g., shoes or goggles), school supplies and transportation to and from WCTC.
Attend an informational meeting at WCTC to discover how Dual Enrollment Academy can help students succeed in their dream career. Tour the WCTC labs for Automation Systems (Robotics), IT Computer Support, Hospitality Specialist, Welding/Fabrication, and Tool and Die/CNC to determine which career is the best fit for you.
Dual Enrollment Academy at Waukesha County Technical College
800 Main St., Pewaukee
Contact: Sandra Maylen, WCTC dual enrollment coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, (262) 691-5591
GPS Education Partners
GPS Education Partners Inc. is an innovative education model that prepares and partners high school juniors and seniors with businesses to accelerate technical education. Students earn their high school diploma and manufacturing certifications while participating in a hands-on, immersive, blended learning setting in local manufacturing environments.
By connecting the students and employers of today with the job opportunities and technology of tomorrow, the organization is revolutionizing how students prepare for a technical career. GPS is a community-based nonprofit and the only manufacturing-specific, statewide Department of Workforce Development Youth Apprenticeship program in Wisconsin.
GPS Education Partners has served nearly 500 students. It has partnered with more than 100 businesses and serves more than 45 high schools throughout the state of Wisconsin. It has also strengthened its commitment to manufacturing, now supporting 14 different industries from paper, primary metals and plastics to chemicals, computers and electronic products.
GPS Education Partners
20633 Watertown Court, Suite 202, Brookfield
info@GPSed.org, (262) 226-2001
Fab Lab Grants
Through the Fabrication Laboratories Grant Program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is helping to outfit public schools across the state with the fabrication equipment, such as 3D printers and laser engravers, that helps students master the skills in high demand in the job market. Collaboration is a key feature of these labs, with schools throughout Wisconsin and around the world communicating to share ideas.
Because the fab labs are required to be accessible to the community, they contribute broadly to economic development by sparking innovation among Wisconsin entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.
WEDC provides grants of up to $25,000 to eligible Wisconsin public school districts, or up to $50,000 to consortiums of two or more public school districts, for the creation and/or expansion of fabrication laboratories. The funds may be used to purchase equipment used for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior or high school students.
Read more about Stuff made and built in southeastern Wisconsin in the digital edition of this new publication.