Merrill Businesses Support Youth Apprenticeship Program
Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program started in 1992 with 200 employers providing real-life work experiences to 348 high school juniors and seniors working to complete an apprenticeship. Today, more than 22,000 students are learning from more than 10,000 employers through the YA program.
That is quite a success story in itself, but for the Merrill community there’s even more to celebrate. Out of 347 school districts currently participating in YA, the Merrill School District is #1 in the state for the number of students registered as apprentices. Of course, students can’t participate unless there is a strong commitment from local employers. What a tremendous accomplishment for a community of our size. More than 135 Merrill high school students are gaining valuable real-life experience at area businesses while taking classes related to their work responsibilities. Students work 450 hours each year of their one- or two-year program and complete a competency checklist associated with their specific apprenticeship with the guidance of a workplace mentor. Related classes are taken at the high school, the technical college, and even at the University of Wisconsin. Students also earn high school credit for their apprenticeship hours and performance.
Apprenticeships are available in many areas including:
Architecture & Construction: Drafting, Carpentry, Electrical, Masonry/Concrete, HVAC, Plumbing), Art,
A/V, & Communication: Graphic Design, Press and Post Press
Finance: Banking, Accounting, Insurance
Health Science: Medical Office, Dental Assistant, Medical Assistant, Nursing Assistant, Pharmacy Technician
Hospitality, Lodging & Tourism: Food & Beverage, Lodging, Reservations & Tour/Activity, Maintenance & Grounds, Marketing, Meetings & Events, Management
Information Technology: Hardware, Software, Web & Digital Media
Manufacturing: Assembly & Packaging, Machining, Welding, Production Operations, Industrial Equipment
Marketing: Sales, Merchandising, Marketing Communications, Research, Leadership
Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics: Drafting, Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Bioscience Lab/Applications
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics: Auto Collision, Auto Technician, Diesel Technician, Logistics/Supply Chain
Upon completion of their apprenticeship, students receive a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency from the Department of Workforce Development, an achievement recognized by technical colleges, universities, and employers alike.
“Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program provides employers an opportunity to grow their future workforce,” explains Karen Akey, YA Coordinator at Merrill High School. “And with their help, students can begin learning about their future careers while still in high school. Beginning in May, we will be recognizing the hard work and commitment of students and employers involved in the Youth Apprenticeship program in a new feature in the Merrill Foto News called “YA Partnership of the Month.” We look forward to sharing many of the success stories found throughout the Merrill area with everyone in the community.”
For more information about the Youth Apprenticeship program, contact Karen Akey or Marla Konkol at Merrill High School (715) 536-4594.