Grantsburg High School is looking for area businesses for their expanding Youth Apprenticeship program. The program, which is run through CESA, is open to juniors and senior students.
CESA, Cooperative Educational Service Agency, is a statewide organization and they sent representatives to Grantsburg High School last week to explain their program to local businesses. The Youth Apprenticeship Program is run through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
The program has existed for over 25 years and over 3,100 employers and 4,300 youth apprentices across Wisconsin participated in the program during the 2017/18 school year.
At the meeting were local businesses including the Burnett Dairy and Nexen. Last year the school had two apprentices, one with Parker-Hannefin and the other worked with DR Tech.
Suzy Retzer, Grantsburg High School transition coordinator said the students did really well and is ready to expand.
“Last year we were just dipping our toes in the water and now we’re ready to open it up and get a lot more local businesses involved,” Retzer said. “You see all kinds of stuff that tells kids they need to go out and get a four-year degree to be successful. That’s just not true for everyone and this program can teach students what they want to do as a career path as well as what they do not want to choose as a career.”
CESA has twelve approved career program areas including agriculture, finance, manufacturing and the newly added broadband. Randy Schullo and Dani Schott were at Grantsburg High School to explain the program.
“This is a highly successful talent acquisitions strategy in which employers hire high school juniors and seniors for a one or two-year apprenticeship,” Schott said. She continued to explain the student will learn skills necessary for that job as well as other skills not readily available in the classroom.
“There was one student who did not want to continue their apprenticeship with their current employer. So instead of me, the teacher, tell the employer they were quitting – we have the student do that, so they are better prepared for that situation in real life,” Schott said.
Schott continued to outline the basics of the program. Some of those details included the student has one year, June to June, to work 450 hours at the company and will have regularly scheduled progress reports.
Eric Lockwood from WITC was also at the presentation to talk about the registered apprenticeship through the Wisconsin Technical College System. That program has five different career paths including carpentry, plumbing and cosmetology. It is more designed for college students; however, some fields can be started at age 17.
“One of the goals for this is to build small communities back up,” Schott said. “If we can keep kids in these small towns we can build up these communities and keep them growing.”