Apprenticeships benefit employers and employees
New program helps match up candidates with apprenticeship opportunities for every age
TINA L. SCOTT
Merrill High School and area businesses have long been involved in the Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Program, providing paid opportunities for students to learn a skill or an industry on the job, while also earning a wage and sometimes school credit. But beyond high school, did you know that there are apprenticeship opportunities still available, regardless of your age? Have you ever wanted to move to a new career or switch industries?
Particularly in the current job market, where many companies are hiring and there are not enough people applying for jobs, this is a great opportunity for a person of any age to learn a new skill, industry, or trade as an apprentice, where you can earn a paycheck while you learn. The knowledge and skills you acquire will be transferable and help you obtain a better position with the apprenticeship employer or another employer so you can earn a better wage.
Recently the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced a new resource to help Wisconsinites find open apprenticeship opportunities throughout the state. This is separate from the YA Program.
As a result of a 2019 U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Expansion grant, Apprenticeship Navigators was created to educate and assist people who are interested in becoming an apprentice. The program is staffed with a team to help and mentor participants and assist in matching them up with apprenticeship opportunities that match their interests and career goals.
“Apprenticeship is an industry-driven training model that combines on-the-job learning with job-related classroom instruction,” a DWD press release said. “As an ‘earn and learn’ model, apprentices are employed and earn wages from their first day on the job. Upon completion of their programs, apprentices earn an average of $80,000. Apprenticeship opportunities are available in the traditional construction, manufacturing, utility, and service sectors, as well as emerging areas like health care, information technology, finance, transportation, biotech, and agriculture.”
“Apprenticeship is for everyone,” said Joshua Johnson, director of Wisconsin Apprenticeship System. “It’s all about finding the right fit for each individual. Navigators will set individuals up for success by providing them accurate tools and resources.”
“Navigators will largely focus on underrepresented populations who have had historically low apprenticeship participation numbers,” the DWD press release said. “They will serve as mentors, providing details of each apprenticeship program and guiding their mentees to an apprenticeship path that fits their interests.
To learn more about Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program, go to: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/press/210510-app-navigators.htm.