Wisconsin Apprentice is a news aggregation and online resource for educators, businesses, school board members and legislators. Sent weekly WA will offer a brief look at what Wisconsin and other states and countries are doing in the areas of Apprenticeship, School to Work Transition,  Secondary and Post Secondary Education and Continuing Education....

WisconsinApprentice.com and the weekly email is on hiatus while we seek funding for the publication, website and project.


Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work to update our job training system, we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships - opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education.

And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we've made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran.

Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.

Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten or twenty years ago - jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.

So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. That's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire....


Notes: We hope he gets bipartisan support for this... Full text at Link...

Wisconsin's construction industry — which had been struck hard by the housing crash and Great Recession — appears to be rebounding with job growth projected over the next 10 years.

"Obviously, it's been an industry hit pretty hard in the Recession, but it's coming back," said Jeff Sachse, a labor market economist with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development...

...Mistele-Wildt said there is opportunity for people seeking a career in construction. Wages might start at $12-15 an hour, but can build to $25 an hour. Apprentices make more money, she said....


Notes: These are great jobs...

Apprenticeship And Job Training: One piece of the community college proposal that could have currency among Republicans is the apprenticeship and job training component, which seeks to more closely align what students learn in class to the skills major employers in the community need. The administration has already spent $2 billion on the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training program, which they say shows early signs of success. And Speaker John Boehner became something of a broken record touting Republican-backed jobs bills in the lead up to the midterm elections, so there’s a chance Republicans could be willing to work on expanding the program.   ...more

John Novak and Austin Krueger are both 18, Lincoln High School seniors, and pursuing career opportunities in the construction industry.

With construction in the Lakeshore area and nation rebounding from recession, employers said the two young men, and other individuals with good work ethic, aptitude and attitude, will have outstanding job prospects.

"I've done a lot of roof carpentry including a house that was part of Parade of Homes," Novak said. "I love seeing the finished product."

He has already been offered a full-time adult apprenticeship by Jim Reif, owner of Jim Reif Builders....


Notes: I may have chosen the wrong career...

For Gareth van der Heyden and the folks at Grassland Consultants, LLC, it’s all about attracting, recruiting, training and retaining good people to manage the grazing farms the company owns in Missouri and New Zealand.

That’s why Van der Heyden is interested in working with the Dairy Apprenticeship Program of Grassworks Inc., the nation’s only dairy apprenticeship program, based in Medford. Van der Heyden’s program includes a dozen Missouri farms where 60 employees milk 7,000 cows on 10,400 acres.

Van der Heyden was a keynote speaker Jan. 15 at the 23rd annual Grazing Conference sponsored by GrassWorks, Inc. About 300 people from 13 states attended the three-day event in Wisconsin Dells.


MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin Cheese Originals announces today applications for its annual Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship are available. The $2,500 award will help one aspiring cheesemaker earn his or her Wisconsin cheesemaking license and make new artisan, farmstead or specialty cheeses.

Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to require cheesemakers to be licensed, a lengthy process that can take as long as 18 months, requires the attendance at five cheesemaking courses, and 240 hours of apprenticeship with an existing licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Applications for the 2015 Wisconsin Cheese Originals Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship are available for download at www.WisconsinCheeseOriginals.com. Applications are due March 20. The recipient will be chosen by a review committee and notified by April 10.


PLYMOUTH, Wis. -- Sartori Cheese is proud to announce that Master Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski has received his second Master certification, gaining specialization in Fontina and Romano cheese. In April of 2011, Matucheski was awarded with his original certification as a Master in Parmesan and Asiago cheese..

Mike is a valued team member at Sartori and has been making cheese at Sartori for over 20 years. The Master Cheese Program is an advanced, three year education program for experienced cheesemakers. Master Cheesemakers are an exclusive group, and it is not an easy task to become certified. In order to apply for entry, one must have a minimum of 10 years as a licensed cheesemaker and been making the variety they wish to be certified in for a minimum of 5 years. "The program is rigorous. There's a three year apprenticeship along with an extensive written test," stated Matucheski. "And the final exam is intense. You have to intimately know all aspects of cheesemaking as well as other vital elements like sanitation and regulatory requirements."


Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order Monday he said is a first step toward reducing disproportionately high unemployment rates among Illinois minorities and veterans.

The order requires labor groups, contractors and subcontractors who work with the state to submit a report within the next 30 days with the number of minorities and veterans participating in training or apprenticeship programs, which often are a pathway to full-time jobs.


When Bryan Foster was in high school his nickname was “Undertaker.”

“I would wear suits to school to go to work after class,” he said.

His work was at a local funeral parlor as an assistant. After high school he joined the U.S. Army and served for 20 years, but he still continued his work in funeral homes wherever he was stationed over the two decades, including in Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri and now Wisconsin...

...Beloit native Kevin Young will serve as the apprentice in the funeral home, and eventually its manager. Young, 21, is currently in mortuary school and looking to finish soon.


In Wisconsin, community college leaders generally like President Barack Obama’s proposal to make the first two years of school free, but they're waiting to hear how the program would be funded.

Morna Foy, the president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, pointed out that the cost of college goes well beyond tuition and books.

“Students who get financial aid now use it for a variety of things in addition to tuition — child care, transportation costs. And those would have to be dealt with outside this particular proposal, as I understand it,” said Foy.


Notes: I would love to see a segregated fund for this, lottery, part of the sales tax, % of corporate income taxes or a new source...

I occasionally hear high school students say they plan to attend University of Wisconsin-Marathon County to "get my generals out of the way." And sometimes I hear them say they plan to attend UWMC because they are "not sure what I want to major in."

While it's good if you have a clear plan on a major, most students change majors no matter where they start college, so there are better reasons to choose UWMC.

However, if you are undecided, then a small campus like UWMC is a wonderful place to get personal advising from our Student Affairs staff to help you choose courses and decide on a path. When you attend UWMC, it also helps that right from the start you're guaranteed small class sizes and one-on-one attention from professors who can provide advice and mentoring in their field of study.


Notes: I agree!

The First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training program celebrates 10 years in 2015 offering services to individuals interested in careers in the building trades.

Since 2005, more than 1,500 disadvantaged persons, women, the under-employed and displaced workers showed interest in our training and programming with 616 students enrolled and 482 graduates. A 10th-grade level in reading, math and language on the Test of Adult Basic Education with a high school diploma or equivalency and driver’s license are the requirements for enrollment. To date, there have been 416 placements with 200 of those placements in the construction industry.

Of those committed to this career field, there are 25 journey workers in laborer, boilermaker, iron worker crafts with one apprentice in pipefitter, three in electrician apprenticeship, two in iron worker apprenticeship and 25 others in laborer crafts. These individuals who are journey workers are now homeowners while more than 25 are on track to become journey workers in their chosen crafts...   ...more

With a surge in new production work orders, Heavy Metal Fabricators is looking to triple, perhaps even quadruple, its welding workforce.

This will make 2015 a busy one for welders at the Custer Street plant, but that's OK with Brent Moore, 29, who came to Wisconsin after training at an Oklahoma technical school.

"I enjoy working on different parts and learning newer techniques," he said.

Dave Wage is president and owner of the HMF family of companies, including Heavy Metal Fabricators, which manufactures large machines and machined weldments for the defense, marine, paper, crane, foundry, petroleum, construction equipment and other industries.


Notes: We need to fill these and create more opportunities for new companies for companies to come to Wisconsin seeking talent.

With a new year comes new goals and new experiences. For more than a dozen troopers in training, there are new jobs not too far from home.

The 60th Recruit Class of the Wisconsin State Patrol graduated from State Patrol Academy at Ft. McCoy in December. It was a rigorous six months, but now 13 of the 47 that gradated are joining the Wisconsin State Patrol Northwest Region.

Captain Jeff Frenette is the Commanding Officer for the Northwest Region's Wisconsin State Patrol. He said most of these troopers have local ties in western Wisconsin, all the way to Douglas County.

"We have 20 counties. Most of those positions' vacancies are on the interstate including St. Croix, Dunn, Eau Claire and Jackson counties," said Frenette.

You could call this group of troopers "homegrown."


The notion behind the traditional K-12 public education system is that the social and economic benefits of an educated population are good for everyone — so everyone, whether they have children or not, should help pay for it.

President Barack Obama’s free-community-college-for-all proposal would expand this societal responsibility to include educating our adults, and — similarly to the K-12 system — without regard to whether the adults or their parents would be able cover the cost of education on their own.


Notes: We need to work on the details, but forward is a good direction.

Amy Myska, an employment and training counselor with the state of Wisconsin Job Service, is answering questions throughout the State of Opportunity series.

Q: How has welding changed in the past 25 years? Who is teaching the welders, and what is required?

Related: More from State of Opportunity

A: Over the past 25 years, welding has been an in-demand occupation in Wisconsin, and projections for the future indicate much of the same. Currently welding ranks 23rd of the top 25 high-growth career fields in the state of Wisconsin (worknet.wisconsin.gov) with an average of 80 to 120 openings posted annually. In recent years, companies such as Marinette Marine and Oshkosh Corp. have increased their demand for welders. However, this is also a career field where we will see significantly more openings as the workforce ages overall and more welders retire.


More than 200 employees from Milwaukee-area manufacturers participated in a recent survey conducted by The Paranet Group Inc. regarding their perspectives on working in a four-generation workforce. Key findings from the survey include:

Gender breakdown: There are 41 percent female Millennials and 59 percent male Millennials in today’s workplace, versus 20 percent female Baby Boomers and 80 percent male Baby Boomers.

Notes: Read This!

David Wilfert is ready for more money to come out of his wallet and go to the politicians in Madison.

“I am going to ask you for a tax increase,” the co-owner of Wilfert Farms in rural Two Rivers told Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, guest speaker of the Business Connects with Government luncheon program sponsored by The Chamber of Manitowoc County....

...Formrite Companies President Dave Wage said his company offers teenagers work opportunities through the Youth Apprentice program. He said his coordinator of youth apprentices sees himself as a mentor and part of what he seeks to impart is having a strong work ethic.


The state of Alabama and the city of Huntsville, site of the ATV factory, offered land, cash and job-training assistance.

Polaris Industries Inc. will receive about $80 million in combined state and city subsidies when it builds its new and massive $142 million ATV plant next year in Huntsville, Ala.

Kelly Schrimsher, communications director for the city of Huntsville, said Monday that the Alabama perks and tax breaks include $15 million in land and temporary office space given to Polaris by Huntsville.

It also includes about $31 million in cash and job-training assistance from the state of Alabama, as well as about $34 million in state subsidies tied to Polaris’ agreement to provide 1,700 to 2,000 jobs in the state.


Luis Fernandez said he’s always been interested in cars and he often played with toy cars when he was younger.

The Beloit Memorial High School senior is turning his interest into a career. Fernandez is enrolled in the school’s automotive program. The program began close to eight years ago and has grown tremendously within the last year.

There are currently six sections of Auto I, the introduction class. Four classes are taught by Technology and Automotive Education Teacher Aaron Troxell. Troxell said the additional two courses, taught by another teacher, were added due to a high demand by students. Each course holds a maximum of 23 students.


Welding experience was once the skill in highest demand for manufacturers in Northeastern Wisconsin.

According to 2014's Northeastern Wisconsin Manufacturing Vitality Index, machinist positions were the most difficult to fill.

One explanation for the need could be buyer's remorse from companies that attempted to outsource work years earlier, said Lakeshore Techinical College Manufacturing Dean Rich Hoerth....

...LTC has two types of programming for those hoping to work as a machinist: entry level programs and apprenticeships....


State Rep. Cody Horlacher was honored at a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony Monday at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The Mukwonago Republican emerged the win­ner of a three-way Republican primary race with Bill Lurvey of Palmyra and Scott Johnson of Hebron. Uncontested in the Nov. 4 election, Horlacher is filling the state Assembly’s District 33 post being vacated by Rep. Steve Nass...

...Horlacher is a strong supporter of vocational and apprenticeship programs in high schools. He said he believes a key factor in creating jobs is to educate high school students on the opportunities available via technical schools and apprenticeships.


...Lowe: “Is education your top priority for the second term?”

Walker: “Yeah — I think education — not just K-12 — but I would expand that to say to me it’s K-16 and beyond — meaning not only kids from kindergarten to the time they graduate high school. I want to make sure they get the skills they need, be it at technical college, an apprenticeship program, or a work training program....


Rick Findora, the owner of Morning Glory Glass Studio in Lodi, has been creating works of art with glass, wood, wrought iron and bronze for many years.

His work can be found in residential and commercial buildings, as well as in schools. But perhaps most meaningful for him is being able to blend his passion for creativity along with his deep sense of religion.

“I’ve always been a spiritual person,” Findora says.

His first large commission was in the chapel of the Lodi Good Samaritan Center, where he completed the woodwork, stonework for the cross and stained glass for the windows.

Since that time, he has created custom artwork in and out of Wisconsin....

...After military service he found an apprenticeship working on antique cars in Iowa restoring old Bentleys and Royces. He was able to learn a lot about metal forming....


The quality of work by Design Group Three just may have the widest word of mouth in the industry. Alan Freysinger and Robert Prindiville started Design Group Three 26 years ago, maintaining a loyal following from Milwaukee to the East Coast down to sunny Florida.

Freysinger started carpentry work right out of high school. “I got a scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I got my degree in architecture, and then did a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship,” Freysinger remembered. He met Prindiville shortly afterwards and they opened their business. Design Group Three focuses on architecture, remodeling and construction. The firm does new construction, but it’s the transformation of homes where the company shines. Freysinger reflected on his years in the business....


What does it mean to be a high school graduate? In Wisconsin, through Agenda 2017, it is our goal for every student to graduate with the knowledge and skills needed for college and career. That means graduates are ready for on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or coursework at a college or university. To earn a high school diploma means a graduate is ready to be successful at the next steps of life.

Starting with the end result — graduates who are college- and career-ready — we tackled the job of increasing the rigor of Wisconsin’s 1998 Model Academic Standards. We brought together leaders from business, commerce, workforce, and higher education to tell us what they expected from our graduates. As a result, Wisconsin’s new standards for mathematics, English language arts, and literacy are higher than our old standards and are more focused, providing guidelines for what students should know and be able to do at every grade level...

Ken Notes: I hope this means a clear focus on school to work transitions. We need students to understand how the career path they choose will impact their future.  We also need to start training much earlier for those who are not college bound...


Wisconsin's Nicolet College has adopted telepresence at three of its campuses in an effort to better support distance learning students.

Funded through a $415,000 grant from the United States Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, the technology has been installed at the school's Rhinelander, Minocqua and Tomahawk campuses. At Rhinelander, the telepresence classroom "is outfitted with five displays, including three 65-inch, high-definition screens that sit side-by-side," according to a news release. "In front of the displays is a specially-designed table for students and instructor. Each site has an advanced camera system along with theater-quality audio equipment."

Users appearing on the screens are presented at near life size and at eye level.


ST. PAUL — Stories of Minnesota manufacturers finding it difficult to fill jobs abound around rural Minnesota, and

It may only take a little nudge to move businesses to taking action, a Wisconsin education leader Monday told seven members of a Minnesota Senate rural task force.

“There is a renewed interest in manufacturing,” Ann Franz of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College told the group, partially crediting a state-college-private partnership.

She said that although Wisconsin appropriated $15 million for training and helping people find jobs, money to improve school facilities has come from the schools and manufacturers.

some state senators are looking at ways to help....   ...more

Name: Luke Ebert

Teacher recommendation: What makes this student stellar? "Throughout high school Luke has refused to shy away from coursework and opportunities that challenged him and extended his knowledge and skills. Luke demonstrated the ability to respond well under difficult circumstances and used these times as opportunities to learn and grow. His participation in the Manitowoc County Youth Apprenticeship program and work experience at Vogel Dairy has helped him extend his strong academic base to include valuable workplace skills. Wholeheartedly embracing all of these opportunities and challenges is what makes Luke Ebert a Stellar Student!" — Jamie Brown, Youth Apprenticeship liaison and school counselor

Name: Chloe Sebo

Teacher recommendation: What makes this student stellar? "Chloe steps up to any challenge placed before her. Because she works diligently to achieve the result that she expects of herself, Chloe has made being successful in high school look easy. While Chloe makes succeeding in high school seem easy, those who know her understand that she has not taken an easy path. She seeks opportunities to challenge herself including taking rigorous college preparatory courses, being actively involved in athletics and clubs and organizations, caring for her horse, and working at Jagemann Stamping through the Manitowoc County Youth Apprenticeship Program in accounting. Chloe is a Stellar Student because she has prepared herself well academically and professionally to pursue her chosen educational and career paths." — Jamie Brown, Youth Apprenticeship liaison and school counselor


Camry Simon didn’t know anything about manufacturing when she signed up for a free 10-week program learning to make metal parts. To her surprise, she loved it.

“You’re creating artwork in a sense. You’re taking a piece of metal and turning it into something,” said the 24-year-old mother, who is now earning an associate’s degree and a journeyman’s license in hopes of working in the manufacturing industry. “To me, that means there’s a wide range of ways I could go.”...


WAUSAU — Many manufacturers in north central Wisconsin have a need for workers with machine tool skills, and a training course at a local technical college is geared toward addressing just that.

The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, in partnership with Northcentral Technical College, is offering a short-term machine tool/computer numerical control, or CNC, certificate program, which will be held from Jan. 19 to May 29 at NTC in Wausau.

The course is offered at no cost through the Workforce Investment Act; those who are 18 years of age or older and are unemployed, underemployed or dislocated may qualify. WIA funding comes from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development....


A local technical college is training a workforce to help make sure Marshfield remains a hotbed of stainless steel fabrication.

About two years after its development, Mid-State Technical College's stainless steel welding certificate offered at its Marshfield campus is quietly becoming a vital resource for local manufacturers, and college officials say they want more people to realize how quickly students are being hired.

"Some of our students have received job offers while still completing the program," said Ronald Zillmer, associate dean for technical and industrial education at MSTC.


Area sheet metal workers learning their craft have a lot more space now, and instructors have more capability to give them hands-on training.

This fall, Sheet Metal Workers Local 91 in southwest Rock Island completed an expansion that triples the area available for apprentice training....

...The training is overseen by Local 91’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, which consists of three representatives from the union and three from local contractors. The training center draws apprentices from a large area of eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, from Dubuque to Keokuk and on the Illinois side from the Wisconsin border to just north of East St. Louis.

Ken Notes: near the quad cities...


Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation, a manufacturer of capital equipment, promotes manufacturing careers and is recognized by DWD Secretary Newson on the partnership with area schools and collaborators in supporting Youth Apprentices.

On Nov. 26, Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation hosted Dept. of Workforce Development Secretary Newson along with Beaver Dam school board members. Pam Korth, Apache’s Human Resource Manager and Joe Kutzler, the Beaver Dam High School Industrial Tech teacher gave a presentation and talked to the group about the Youth Apprenticeship Program and the continuing need to increase awareness for careers in manufacturing.

"Companies like Apache Stainless Equipment are participating in our Youth Apprenticeship program and filling their need for skilled workers, and at the same time helping area students obtain quality workplace training," said Secretary Newson. "I applaud Apache Stainless Equipment in their ongoing effort to collaborate with the local school district and other partners to give Youth Apprentices the opportunity to gain experience and be considered for potential future employment."...   ...more

The 23rd GrassWorks Grazing Conference will be held in Wisconsin Dells, Jan. 15-17, 2015. This event is for producers of all kinds of livestock who have a desire to learn how to improve their land, increase forage production and graze as many months as possible during the year. Topics range from cattle handling basics, dairy management on grass, soil fertility and animal care in the pasture.

This year’s conference will be held at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells and will feature more then 25 sessions and a trade show with more than 40 exhibitors. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear thought-provoking and inspiring speakers. In keeping with grass-based leadership in local and sustainable farming, the meals offered at the conference consist almost entirely of season, local, grass-fed selections from the best in graziers from around the region...

Also see http://grassworks.org/...

Ken Notes: Apprenticeships on farm and ag as well as dairy, cheese, and produce need to be more formally recognized in our state. We have the worlds greatest cheesemakers for example and many learned the trade as an apprentice...


Wisconsin's transformation from an anti-business to a pro-business state has been remarkable, but it is also incomplete. There is more work to be done in order for our state to achieve its full economic potential.

Unfortunately, Wisconsin doesn't control its own economic destiny and wrong-headed federal policies and uncertain global economic and geopolitical conditions are holding us back....

....Workforce Training: Wisconsin's worker shortage will soon become a crisis, which is why Congress needs to act on immigration reform. At the state-level, Wisconsin should continue its impressive investment in worker training and rebuild our once strong apprenticeship programs....

Ken Notes: I know and like Kurt and agree on the training aspect of his remarks. I do wish WMC were far more positive on what Wisconsin has to offer and far less political. They have the potential to be leaders in bipartisan reform for the state....


An engineer shortage in Wisconsin has led UW-Stout to consider adding additional degrees in the field. Today, Chancellor Bob Meyer addressed the Education Committee of the Board of Regents to see what changes could be made. Meanwhile, we spoke with a local manufacturer to hear their take on the industry.

LPI of Plank Enterprises is a local manufacturer that hires engineers. 

“Our equipment is specialized and it's used primarily for painting,” says Pete Paquette, the Director of Engineering at LPI.

Paquette says there is a shortage of engineers.

“It seems that the trend is that a lot of the manufacturing is coming back to our country from being done oversees, therefore, the need for more engineering jobs,” says Paquette, “one division of our company is Pro-Cise Manufacturing, the expansion there right now is growing greatly so we are looking for people in engineering disciplines.

Ken Notes: We need a transitional program from tech to college in engineering...

The Green Bay Packers Foundation this year awarded $600,000 to 223 civic and charitable groups throughout the state of Wisconsin in its annual distribution of grants. Charlie Lieb, chairman of the Foundation committee, made the announcement. Overall, including a recent $250,000 impact grant to the Achieve Brown County organization, and a $250,000 impact grant made to organizations in Brown County that fight hunger, $1.1 million was awarded through the Foundation this year...

...Additionally, under the Packers Scholarship Program established in 2002, $15,000 was awarded – $7,500 to Scholarships Inc., for distribution to students in four-year colleges, and $7,500 to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) for distribution to students in two-year associate degree or apprenticeship trades programs. ...

I was encouraged to read this newspaper’s Nov. 30 editorial (“Food stamp reform should go beyond fraud”), which seemed to admit there is some merit to some of the welfare reform proposals contained in my letter to Maine’s congressional delegation.

The newspaper, however, missed the larger point of welfare reform. Reform does not begin or end at deterring an individual from trading his or her electronic benefits transfer card for drugs or cash. It does not begin or end at requiring job-ready, working-age adults to work, look for work or volunteer while receiving benefits.

Welfare reform is much bigger than that. It is about acknowledging that the increasing number of individuals and families dependent on welfare and living in poverty is a failure of previous administrations and their welfare policies....

Ken Notes: I have supported this position for years. I think apprenticeship offered early (Junior or senior year) will both keep kids in school and will offer a path to higher paying sustainable jobs.


Stories of Minnesota manufacturers finding it difficult to fill jobs abound around rural Minnesota, and some state senators are looking at ways to help.

It may only take a little nudge to move businesses to taking action, a Wisconsin education leader Monday told seven members of a Minnesota Senate rural task force.

"There is a renewed interest in manufacturing," Ann Franz of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College told the group, partially crediting a state-college-private partnership.

She said that although Wisconsin appropriated $15 million for training and helping people find jobs, money to improve school facilities has come from the schools and manufacturers...

Ken Notes: interesting...


Sarepta is quintessential small-town America.

It's a one-stoplight town in northwest Louisiana with a population of 877, complete with a single post office and a drive-in burger joint.

But it's Sarepta, and small towns across the South just like it, that are creating a labor nightmare for auto suppliers.

As labor needs transition from low-cost, low-skilled workers to an educated, highly skilled labor force, auto companies are struggling to persuade this new type of employee to live and work in towns devoid of big-city amenities....


You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of philanthropists who are also working artists represented by major New York galleries. Paula Crown is one. She and her husband James, an heir to the General Dynamics (a defence company) fortune, have poured their influence into large-scale public art projects, such as Jaume Plensa’s Crown Fountain, 2004, in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and a collaboration with the Aspen Art Museum on the ski slopes of Aspen, Colorado, starting in 2005. Paula Crown earned an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012, and her first outdoor sculpture installation was unveiled on Monday in Miami’s Design District.....

...When Crown contacted Gates about the commission, she knew that he would pay it forward, as he often does with his community rehabilitation projects on Chicago’s South Side. Gates hired students from his Design Apprenticeship Program to assist in the sculpture’s construction, with his studio handling the more complicated aspects. Eight students aged 14 to 21 were paid the minimum wage and learned core skills such as washing, sanding and sealing the found wood.

Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative would be among the tenants in a new commercial development planned for Milwaukee's north side.

The project, known as Innovation and Wellness Commons, has two planned phases, with the first stage to convert a 5,500-square-foot, two-story building, with a planned 500-square-foot addition, at 1615-1617 W. North Ave. into a juice bar, commercial kitchen and a small Outpost store, said Sharon Adams, director of programs at Walnut Way Conservation Corp., which is leading the development...

...Other tenants at the development would include Milwaukee Center for Independence, a nonprofit service provider for people with disabilities, said Ald. Russell Stamper, whose district includes the site. That group would work with Outpost on operating a commercial kitchen that would include a job-training component, he said.


Food manufacturing jobs in Northeastern Wisconsin largely mean dairy, but not just "dairy" jobs.

There are jobs for people with agriculture degrees or an interest in cheese making, but as in every other manufacturing sector, electricians and people with mechanical skills are in high demand.

"Maintenance is a growing field right now. I'm talking about people who are getting experience in maintaining robotic equipment, programming of equipment and a very high level of electrical background," said Julie Aleff, human capital generalist with Agropur, the agricultural cooperative that has four facilities in Wisconsin, including in Little Chute and Luxemburg.


Paul Strelau, a 1979 graduate of Owatonna High School and son of the Otto Strelaus of Owatonna fondly remembers playing in Arnold Krueger’s Owatonna High School orchestra. He turned a love for music into an apprenticeship with a violin maker after receiving an undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin. He moved to Rochester, New York to enroll at the Eastman School of Music for his master’s degree in 1985 and remained after meeting his wife, Nancy. He played with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for 12 years while developing his string repair shop which he founded in 1988. The repair shop named “Stringed Instrument Services” has morphed into a diversified business offering retail and wholesale stringed instruments as well as rentals.   ...more

Since he got into blacksmithing a little more than a quarter of a century ago, there hasn't been a day that Kelly Wetzel says he hasn't looked forward to going into work.

And when he was laid off for a couple of years from his job as an industrial smith at a Milwaukee-area manufacturer due to a slow-down in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Wetzel turned to sharing his passion for the centuries-old skill by teaching.

We're not talking horseshoes here. Think sculpture, artwork, furnishings and accessories forged from metal, hammered out on an anvil and twisted into shape.

For 13 years Wetzel, 56, has offered an eight-week basic blacksmithing class coordinated through the Wustum campus of the Racine Art Museum. And he gives his own individualized advanced training on Saturdays at his shop in Raymond, The Journal Times reported.


Though Stathopoulos is not a household name, the contributions from the father-son team bearing this name will affect the household of God for generations.

In the past seven decades, the artistic gifts of restoration have benefited thousands of parishes around the world. Locally, John and Jim Stathopoulos have restored several churches in the Diocese of La Crosse. Most recently, they completed restoration work at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Marshfield...

...When he was about 12, he found himself sitting in a church mesmerized by a man repairing a fresco on the ceiling. After watching a second day, John said, "The man asked me 'Why (are) you here. What (do) you want?' I told him, I want to do what you're doing."

That very day, he began his apprenticeship, living out a passion and developing gifts he had not yet known. The artist mentor was known just by his first name: Apostolo. His one passion was restoring churches. In his aging years with no wife or children, he gladly began teaching John his trade. Apostolo also took John into his home to provide for his needs, including ensuring that John attended school.


As the U.S. labor economy continues its massive transformation of jobs and careers, a White House initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden is seeking ways to better match the skills of Americans with jobs that need filling today. As part of this initiative, a June 2014 event called The Future of Workforce Development was organized by Third Way, a Washington think tank.

During this event, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez led a panel discussion of trainers, educators, entrepreneurs, and administrators from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of the nation. Although some economists still contest that a jobs-skills disconnect exists, none of the panelists and government representatives doubted its reality...

...the seven habits that are needed to re-establish this broken link between education and employment are:

  • actively engage local businesses
  • use labor market data to drive decisions
  • treat education like a job
  • connect people to careers
  • provide wraparound student services
  • tap innovative funding sources
  • embrace evaluation.



The OEM Industries Division of FNA Group Inc., which manufactures pressure washers for home and industrial markets, is establishing a new manufacturing, distribution and research and development facility in Pleasant Prairie.

The $3 million project expected to create more than 100 new jobs in Kenosha County.

The Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company will occupy a 176,000-square-foot industrial facility in the LakeView Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie that will enable it to manufacture new products, accommodate demand for existing products and establish an R&D/engineering/product development center. The company is expected to begin operations at the plant in January.   ...more

The 2014 Northeast Wisconsin Business Plan Contest is accepting applications through Dec. 31.

Those interested in the contest, hosted by the Northeast Wisconsin Regional Economic Partnership, can submit a 250-word business concept statement for a new business or to help grow an existing business in the region.

The top three entries will compete for the first prize in an elevator pitch competition at 10 a.m. Jan. 30.

The first prize is $5,000. Second- and third-place prizes will receive a minimum of $1,000. The business must be in one of the 18 counties of the New North region, or in Forest County.


How are future packaging machinery field-service techs made? Logan Lange, a student in the Automated Packaging Systems Technician Program at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), New Richmond, WI, tells his story.

Ken Notes: Great read!


More than 3,500 MPS high school students were be able to meet representatives from dozens of colleges, universities, higher educational resources, apprenticeship programs and career opportunities on Tuesday as Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and district partners host the 8th Annual Fresh Coast Classic College and Resource Fair.

Sponsors of the event include the Mandel Group, Molina Healthcare, MPS, the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation, Running Rebels and the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM).


Last year the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield/Wood County launched the innovative Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) completion degree open to anyone with a liberal arts Associates Degree.

The BAAS degree is designed to deliver education to adult students where they live and work to help them advance in their career without having to start over in their education. This degree also helps fulfill the need for qualified workers in Central Wisconsin.

UW-Marshfield/Wood County is excited to offer a new degree pathway available to Mid-State, Northcentral, and other Wisconsin technical college students...   ...more

At Algoma High School, size does matter, meaning the size of its new technical education center addition.

The $3.5 million expansion of tech ed and the school’s fitness area began this summer before school started and is about halfway done, with only a few more things to be completed in tech ed.

High School principal Nick Cochart said the addition increases technical education opportunities immensely.


Maikou Xiong begins and ends each day the same way, caring for the homebound sick and elderly.

Between the hour-long visits with her patients at the break of dawn and late into the evening, the personal care worker goes to school full time, manages a student store and serves as the vice president of her student government association.

“It’s a lot of work and that’s just reality,” she said.

The 24-year-old daughter of Hmong immigrants from Thailand is a student at Job Corps, a U.S. Department of Labor career-training program that was created as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty 50 years ago.

Xiong is in her last year of the program, which is geared toward economically disadvantaged youth and young adults between the ages of 16 to 24. She has been studying to become a certified nursing assistant for a year and a half.

Part of her motivation to endure the grueling days and to become a nurse is to be able to financially help her impoverished family, including her disabled mother and her father, who supports Xiong and her six siblings with his job as a maintenance worker.


Beloit Memorial High School’s (BMHS) early education classes may be one of its best kept secrets.

Students pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education can earn up to 15 credits, or a semester’s worth of college credit, to apply toward their education at Blackhawk Technical College or University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, according to Deb Brovick, BMHS family and consumer science teacher and BMHS’s early childhood education internship supervisor.

Brovick said early childhood education is a growing field as there is an ever-growing need for childcare. More school districts are expanding their 4K programs as the Department of Public Instruction keeps putting more requirements for early education. Students who finish the four early childhood classes at BMHS can get immediate employment post-graduation at a childcare facility to help them pay the bills as they work toward an bachelor’s degree in education.


Opportunity Development Centers Inc., or ODC, was awarded Thursday a $57,435 Fast Forward grant for worker training.

The ODC grant, included in $600,000 of grants to help people with disabilities across the state, is part of Gov. Scott Walker’s $35.4 million Wisconsin Fast Forward — Blueprint for Prosperity initiative.

The initiative invests in worker training to move Wisconsin’s working families along a path toward greater prosperity and independence, according to a press release from the governor’s office.


Occupy Madison isn't so much focused on bringing down the 1 percent as much as its determined to give those at the bottom a hand up.

On Nov. 15, the Wisconsin-based activist group completed construction on three finished houses for homeless residents in the community, according to Al Jazeera. One couple and two others will reside in the tiny homes, which were built on private property, as part of the organization's OM Build initiative focused on providing stable shelter for those living in extreme poverty.


When Dave Branson, the executive director of the Building and Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin, stopped by the office on a recent morning, he handed me a card.

On it was a list of skilled trades followed by a set of figures that showed the hourly pay and fringe benefits for each of them.


Boilermakers earn $32.05 an hour with fringes averaging another $28.04 for a total of $60.09 per hour.

Total hourly pay and fringes for bricklayers: $51.74; cement finishers, $50.05; drywall finishers, $43.65; electricians, $54.63; ironworkers, $53.23; laborers, $40.09; painters, $43.35; plumbers, $55.24; sheet metal workers, $58.95.

You get the picture.


Logan Biggs says he has always liked "tinkering with things" starting as a child with Legos and K'Nex, which has the marketing slogan "Building Worlds Kids Love."

Now, the former U.S. Army engineer officer, 26, is getting on-the-job training experiences at Manitowoc Crane in a program the company has developed with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board supporting veterans as they transition from military life to the civilian workforce.


A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows more than 20 percent of Wisconsin children are living in poverty, and suggests a two-generation approach is necessary to help parents and children thrive. Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, explains the two-generation concept.

"Focusing on family economic success, which is through family-supporting jobs for parents," says Taylor. "How do we connect parents with those family-supporting jobs and support them in that effort, and promote high-quality education experience starting in the early years."

Taylor says the new report shows Wisconsin in the middle of the pack of states.   ...more

Wisconsin has 14 more people ready to get to work.

The latest class of TrANS students graduated Friday during a ceremony and job fair at the Oneida Skenandoah Complex. Half of the graduates were Native Americans.

TrANS is an acronym for Transportation Alliance for New Solutions. It is a public-private program for preparing women, minorities and other individuals with skills needed to gain access to the road-building industry as laborers and apprentices. It is a program of the Forward Service Corp. of Madison, a private, nonprofit corporation that provides employment, training and support services in several programs.


Working parents, busy adults, and other nontraditional learners now have two new opportunities to earn a respected University of Wisconsin credential at a pace that fits their busy lives. UW System officials today announced that UW-Parkside has launched versions of its Sales and Global Skills certificate programs in the self-paced, competency-based, UW Flexible Option format. Applications are being accepted now, and students may begin coursework on the first day of any month, beginning March 1, 2015.

“This is an important day for UW-Parkside and adult higher education,” said Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension, who is providing leadership for the UW Flexible Option. “We are all excited that working adults, in Wisconsin and across the country, are gaining more and more opportunities to get a world-class University of Wisconsin education while balancing commitments to work and family.”


Now that the new La Crosse Warming Center is filling up nightly, organizers are moving to the second step in their three-part plan to serve the homeless.

The Shelter Development Corp., a new nonprofit that Rick Staff and his wife, Nancy Gerrard, formed, is buying a 2,500-square-foot office space at 313 S. Fourth St. to become a daytime drop-in and service center, Staff said in an interview.


Gov. Scott Walker made his first post-election stop in Green Bay on Thursday, saying he plans on serving the state for four years, a term that includes providing funding for worker training.

Walker spoke at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College where he reaffirmed campaign promises to continue funding job training programs in areas where the state's employers say workers are needed....

Ken Notes: It was good to hear the Governor reiterate his campaign promises after the election. We should see very strong support for both apprenticeship and job training for the next few years.


Beloit Memorial High School students learn to build homes in new apprenticeship program

Students at Beloit Memorial High School are not only building their first house, but gaining skills they’ll need for life, according to Ryan Rewey, advanced career education director for the School District of Beloit.

The first house for the district’s Student House Build Program, located at 321 Ridgeland Ave., was donated to the school by the city.

The program has been a dreamchild of Rewey, who was an on-site teacher for the Janesville’s program.

“One of my goals was to get a student house going,” Rewey said. “Especially with the skilled trades gap, and student with construction, it provides a chance for kids to learn skills in high school that can transfer to a job beyond high school.”

Zach Bahr, Tyler Garretson and Kyle Otto, students in the 15-member class, said they want to pursue a career in construction after high school.

“It can be a challenge, but I like building,” Otto said.


Quinn Palmer owns a house. He has three kids ages 14, 7 and 2. And his wife was laid off from her job as a program analyst at Aurora Medical in September. A third-year Milwaukee Area Technical College student pursuing on-the-job steamfitter training, Palmer earns just 60 percent of a full-time steamfitter salary.

“When I first got into the trade, I went from a sales job where I was making $22 an hour to $14 an hour. And all I could think of was ‘what did I get myself into?’” Palmer said. Bills started piling us and “to sum it up, I have a lot on my plate.”

Since last year, MATC has been offering help to students in situations like Palmer’s in the form of Jim Elliott Apprentice Scholarships. While apprentices have not historically been eligible for student financial aid, these $1,000 scholarships are specifically designed for apprentices in the construction trades. They are awarded based on financial need....


Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

From the beginning, South Carolina took apprenticeship beyond the building trades — that's the traditional route for apprentices — to fields like nursing, pharmacy and IT. As the number of apprenticeship programs has fallen nationwide, it has taken off in South Carolina.

"When we started this back in 2007, we only had 90 companies that had apprenticeship programs," Neese says. "We've hit 670, which, by the way, we only had 777 apprentices in 2007. And we've now serviced nearly 11,000 apprentices. So it's been a phenomenal growth."...


Apprenticeships are firmly on the political agenda in the run-up to next spring’s general election. The skills gap and youth unemployment mean work-based training is at the heart of what the political parties are planning. And the devolved powers heading for Greater Manchester will mean our town halls will have control of the region’s £500m skills budget. Education reporter TODD FITZGERALD looks at how modern apprenticeships are becoming more and more important.

Apprenticeships - a good choice for school leavers? Or a last resort for those who can’t get into university?

As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain skills on the job - all the while staying in education.

Off the job, they receive training to work towards nationally-recognised qualifications, often at a college. Anyone living in England, aged 16-plus and not in full-time education, can apply to become an apprentice. The myth that apprenticeships are not for ‘top’ students is one that schools and colleges are increasingly keen to dispel. They’re simply an alternative route to employment....


A short-term college certificate, for a very specific job-training program like how to use computers for office work, probably won't help students earn more money in the long run, a new study has found.

However, if those classes are later applied to an associate's or bachelor's degree, college then becomes a good investment, no matter what major a student chooses, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis. The research was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation....


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited Western Technical College Thursday to meet with students and discuss the growing demand for skilled workers.

The Weaver Center is the newest welding and apprenticeship center at WTC. A former Trane Company building, the school created the space to use while construction finishes on the Integrated Technology Center.

Walker met with Western's students and staff to discuss the importance of technical colleges.

"We put a great amount of emphasis and a great amount of money into our technical colleges, and that's really for us. As we look into the next four years, it's going to be worker training, career development, work force development," said Governor Walker.'''   ...more

Apprentice Ashley Terron didn’t stop at being the UK’s number one bricklayer, he went on to be named the best young bricklayer in the world.

Ashley talks us through his top tips for a successful apprenticeship.

Do your research
When I was at school all the kids wanted to be the best at something - the best footballer, the best dancer. For me, building was the family trade, so it felt right to go into bricklaying. I was lucky I knew what I wanted but it is important to research all the career opportunities available. That is why The Skills Show is such an important event. It provides hands-on experiences enabling young people to learn about different careers and find out how they can get the right skills to secure a job.

Applying for an apprenticeship
I worked for my father’s bricklaying company while studying for a City & Guilds Level 3 NVQ at Warrington Collegiate. Completing an apprenticeship meant that I could earn while I was learning and also gain recognized qualifications...   ...more

The Menominee Reservation and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Kenosha have decided to plan for the creation of a new Jobs Training Institute that will prepare workers to fill the new positions at a proposed casino. The training institute is based on a collaboration between the Menominee Kenosha Gaming Authority, Hard Rock Wisconsin LLC, the College of Menominee Nation and Gateway Technical College in Kenosha.

The $800 million facility at the former Dairyland Greyhound Track will create about 3,000 jobs directly related to the operation of the casino while the project overall is expected to create 7,000 additional jobs related to businesses providing services and goods to the Kenosha facility and the Menominee Tribe. The College of the Menominee Nation, Keshena, and Gateway Technical College, Kenosha, will work with Hard Rock and the gaming authority to implement new training programs to:

• Help recruit and train a diverse labor force necessary to supply the newly created jobs.

• Develop curriculum and training programs specific to job requirements at the hotel & casino.

• Develop an inventory of positions and related qualifications/skill levels for these positions.

• Ensure hiring and contracting goals of the authority are met in regard to residency status, minority status and Indian (Native American) preference.

• Market the training and recruitment specifically to the unemployed and underemployed in the region.

“The Menominee Tribe embraces...

Ken Notes: is anyone else reading between the lines here!

Keith Dickinson wants people to know that Madison still has a manufacturing sector. His business, Dickinson Manufacturing Solutions (DMS), which he co-owns with his wife, Debbie Dickinson, is part of that sector.

DMS uses a computer numerical-controlled, milling-and- turning machining process to produce complex parts in almost any shape or design. The business also uses reverse engineering to copy a part that is no longer in production or to design a similar but less costly version of a current part.....

.....Ten full-time employees are on staff. The general manager, Richard Edwards, is Keith’s nephew.One part-time apprentice from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce Youth Apprenticeship program is also employed here.


Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College has recently promoted Karen Hoglund to academic dean of its trade and technical programs.

“I am excited to work with such a talented and passionate team of faculty and deans,” said Hoglund. “I thrive on the challenges that this position will bring and my hopes are to enhance what is already being done and make improvements where needed.”

Hoglund served as an admission advisor at WITC’s Ashland campus for the past 10 years...

...says Hoglund. “Another goal will be to establish professional relationships with employers in business and industry to ensure we are meeting their needs and modifying curriculum to assist our students to stay competitive in the job market.”...


At the graduation of the first class in Fort Hood's "Shifting Gears" program, soldiers were awarded with certificates showing they'd completed learning the skills they need to get a job as a General Motors technician. Many said they felt fortunate because many veterans struggle to find jobs once the return to civilian life.

"I've actually had quite a a few friends over the years that've gotten out and a lot of them are on unemployment for six months to a year," said Specialist James Turner, who was a part of the inaugural class.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the state's overall average unemployment rate is 5.2 percent. For service members who left the army after 9/11, that rate is almost doubled. The TWC estimates 920,000 veterans are able to work in the state but not all of them have the training they need to find a job....

...The Shifting Gears program is the first of multiple programs. Representatives from both General Motors and Raytheon Company said they plan to keep partnering with Fort Hood to help more soldiers have an easier transition.   ...more

Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing plans a $15 million upgrade of its operations center in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, as part of a project expected to create 75 jobs during the next three years. In addition to the capital investment, the company will spend more than $900,000 on job training for its employees, state economic development officials said....

...To help secure the new jobs, the WEDC authorized Dynamic Fabrication to receive up to $1.1 million in tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of credits received will depend on the number of jobs created and the amount spent by the company on job training....

Recently, I spent the morning shadowing Chef Karen Bell at Bavette La Boucherie, a butcher shop / cafe at 330 E. Menomonee St. While doing so, I learned a little bit about the process of butchering meat.

Prior to my "shift," I envisioned myself in a blood-spattered apron, wielding a bone saw and wearing big plastic goggles flecked with hog fat. This was not the case. In fact, I was surprised – and a little disappointed – by the lack of blood, guts and gore...

....He also said having a vast knowledge of all animals is important and recommends anyone interested in becoming a butcher should undergo a good apprenticeship.

Ken Notes: A great trade learned best in the "shop". For the record the author and her female instructor did not fit my vision of the local butcher -- and for that I apologize -- because it should. 


Dodge County manufacturers are taking action to promote the availability of jobs in the manufacturing trades.

The recently formed Manufacturing Business Alliance of greater Dodge County is gaining momentum with activities to address the skills gap and now has the highest membership since its inception two years ago.

Pam Korth, manager of human resources at Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation is chairperson of the manufacturing alliance.

“This alliance was created out of need,” Korth said. “The labor pool for skilled trades is too small in the area, which is saturated with manufacturers. We can’t grow our companies by hiring away labor from each other. We needed to increase the pool.”

Ken Notes: I couldn't have said it better!!!


Plymouth High School graduate Nick Hildebrand has received the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement from the National Restaurant Association.

The industry-recognized certificate signifies a strong foundation in the basic management and culinary skills considered critical to success by industry leaders. It is awarded to students who pass two National Restaurant Association exams and complete 400 hours of mentored work experience.

Hildebrand served his 400-hour apprenticeship with Kohler Hospitality, working at Cucina, the Wisconsin Room, the Horse and Plow and Riverbend. He graduated in June and now is a full-time student at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute in Sheboygan and also works at Lola’s on the Lake at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake....


One after another, educators and manufacturing representatives stood at the microphone Tuesday night and talked about their great relationships, and not one seemed self-conscious doing it.

Such is the progress made by the N.E.W. Manufacturing Alliance, which hosted its third annual Excellence in Manufacturing/K-12 Partnership Awards. The event spotlights best practices of manufacturing and education collaborations in Northeastern Wisconsin and showcases top talent at manufacturing companies.

Before the formation of the Manufacturing Alliance in 2006, manufacturers and educators rarely found themselves in the same room, much less talking to one another, a condition that still exists in much of the rest of the state. Mike Trimberger, principal of Sheboygan South High School, said he was asked during a conversation with a manufacturer whether they would be allowed to do what they were talking about...


At last, unemployment is easing. But the latest low rate—hovering below 6 percent–obscures a deeper, longer-term problem: “skills mismatches” in the labor force, which will only worsen in years to come. According to the most recent figures, 9.3 million Americans are unemployed, but 4.8 million jobs stand empty because employers can’t find people to fill them. With new technology transforming work across a range of sectors, more and more businesses are struggling to find workers with the skills to man new machines and manage new processes....   ...more

The U.S. labor market may finally be picking up steam, but when it comes to our structural labor problems, big questions about stagnant wages and underemployed workers remain.

Will labor market tightening do anything to accelerate wage growth for middle- and lower-class workers? Will it ease the difficulties manufacturers and other skills-based employers face in finding an adequately trained workforce? Almost certainly not.

While today’s college-educated workers stand ready to step in to managerial and professional roles, those with only a high school degree or some college frequently frequently lack the skills to provide adequate value to employers. The result has been to accelerate the shift toward mechanization, further decreasing the opportunities for those who need them most...


Dodge County, Wisconsin and surrounding area manufacturers are taking action to promote the availability of family supporting jobs available in the manufacturing trades. The recently formed Manufacturing Business Alliance of greater Dodge County is gaining momentum with aggressive activities to address the skills gap and now has the highest membership since its inception two years ago.

Pam Korth, Manager of Human Resources at Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation and current Chairperson of the Manufacturing Alliance commented, “This alliance was created out of need. The labor pool for skilled trades is too small in the area, which is saturated with manufacturers. We can’t grow our companies by hiring away labor from each other. We needed to increase the pool.”

Ken Notes: different article, great project!


The University of Wisconsin-Madison will serve as a national hub for research mentor and mentee training for the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) recently announced by NIH as part of a national Diversity Program Consortium.

The NIH will award the Diversity Program Consortium nearly $31 million in fiscal year 2014 funds to develop new approaches that engage researchers, including those from backgrounds underrepresented in biomedical sciences, and prepare them to thrive in the NIH-funded workforce....

“We’ve developed models and performed the research to show they work. NRMN is the perfect opportunity to collaborate more widely, capitalize on cross-campus initiatives, and share what we’ve learned,” says Christine Pfund, principal investigator of NRMN, director of the NRMN Mentor Training Core and researcher with the Department of Medicine, UW ICTR, and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.


Dynamic Fabrication and Finishing LLC, an Eau Claire company that services manufacturers and OEMs, is launching a $15 million upgrade that's expected to create up to 75 jobs over the next three years.

The 50-employee company has been authorized to receive up to $1.1 million in tax credits over the three-year period depending on the number of jobs created and the amount spent on job training, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. said Monday. Dynamic intends to spend $900,000 on job training, in addition to the funds invested on the expansion.


Lake Geneva-based Trostel, a custom rubber molding and compounding company, recently launched a manufacturing youth apprenticeship program in cooperation with GPS Education Partners, a nonprofit that provides immersive work-based education programs. The manufacturer began providing learning space and apprenticeship training to high school students at its Whitewater and Lake Geneva operations in September.

Trostel decided to partner with GPS on the program as a way to address the skills gap problem that involves manufacturers struggling to find skilled labor. The company said the collaboration benefits students, meets the needs of manufacturing and serves to strengthen local communities where it does business.   ...more

Amy Myska, an employment and training counselor with the state of Wisconsin Job Service, is answering questions throughout the State of Opportunity series.

Q: Several employers say they rely on Wisconsin's Youth Apprenticeship program for workers. How does this program work?

A: Youth Apprenticeship programs are available across the state. The programs partner with local school districts to provide students with both an education and hands-on job experience.

There are many benefits of apprenticeship programs for both students and employers....


Piping Systems Inc. President Jeff Bunker says the company has been conservative in growth since 1990, investing only due to customer demand. This year, it landed a whopper and bet big on the future.

A multi-year contract from an East Coast energy company means a $5.5 million expansion and tripling of employees at the pipe fitter and manufacturer on the southern skirts of Hortonville....

....Trent Wegner, 39, attended Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and finished a five-year apprenticeship before he became a steamfitter journeyman at PSI.

"It's a great-paying job with good insurance," Wegner said. "You see young guys come in all the time and flush out. It's tough to find a good tradesman and it's the simple things like being on time and having a good work ethic."...


A job fair was held on Monday, Oct. 20, to provide information to workers about construction job opportunities available for the $450 million, 32-story, Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons office building project.

Northwestern Mutual has committed to have at least 40 percent of the workers on the project be city residents and is supporting worker training efforts for construction workers for this and other future construction projects in the area. The project will employ about 1,000 construction workers....   ...more

Educators, administrators, community members and business leaders welcomed 82 new faculty and academic staff to the community on Oct. 14 at the Partners In Education 34th annual PIE social. The event was held at the new Mid-State Technical College Stevens Point campus where attendees enjoyed pie and coffee while networking. Featured speakers thanked new educators for their efforts and dedication. Their commitment to educate our students and future Portage County leaders is highly valued. Portage County has a long history of community partnerships and business-education networks, which were highlighted by the speakers... ...PIE coordinates programs for educators, K-12 students and college students. Programs include Kids Investigating Careers, Reality Shop, Exploring Career Clusters, Job Shadowing, Golden Apple, Career Expo, Youth Apprenticeship, Guest Speakers and Business Tours.   ...more

From January 15th through the 17th of 2015, hundreds of people from around the Midwest will gather in Wisconsin Dells to learn how managed grazing can regenerate your land and pastures and keep the grass on your side of the fence green. The 23rd GrassWorks Grazing Conference is a key event for producers of all kinds of livestock who have a desire to learn how to improve their land, increase forage production, and graze as many months as possible during the year. Topics range from cattle handling basics, dairy management on grass, soil fertility and animal care in the pasture.... ...Thursday, January 15th of the conference will have a dairy focus and GrassWorks is working with the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program to roll out a great lineup of speakers to help out dairy graziers....


Ask many middle school students what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll probably hear answers like “pro football player” or “video-game tester” or “pro football player who also tests video games.” For students involved in programs like Royal Credit Union’s School $ense, the answer is more likely to be “banker.”... ...Student participants at School $ense high school sites get more responsibility and experience. At Memorial and North high schools in Eau Claire, they are hired as interns through a youth apprenticeship program, and in addition to working at the high school, they are given teller responsibilities at regular branches after school and on weekends, Buyze said.   ...more

Xcel Energy is hoping it can replace retiring workers in a hurry. In fact, they say they'll need to in order to keep your service up and running. The company expects half of its workers will be retiring within the next decade. This week marks Wisconsin's Careers in Energy Week. With that in mind, we explore how Xcel is helping its potential job applicants rise to the challenge.

"Without a doubt 100% of what they learn here they will use out on the job," said Mike McLaughlin, Xcel Energy Supervisor.

It's far from your typical classroom setting. But at CVTC's West Campus Wednesday, students in the Electrical Power Distribution Program were given a hands on type of test... ...'Typically when a person leaves here, if they get a position with a utility, they're going to serve a four year apprenticeship. They'll be considered a journeyman lineman, and then it typically takes another four years to really make a well-rounded lineman," McLaughlin....


The Apprenticeship Completion Award Program (ACAP) partially reimburses eligible apprentices, sponsors and employers for certain costs of related instruction. ACAP was developed by the Legislature, and signed by Governor Walker (2013 WI Act 57). The program began June 2, 2014.

ACAP will be administered by the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS), as directed by law. BAS may reimburse the apprentice, the employer or the sponsor a maximum of $1,000 for up to 25% of the tuition, book, materials and other course fees directly associated with related instruction.

ACAP funding totals $450,000. The program will conclude on June 30, 2015.


Two busloads of students from Oshkosh North and West high schools had the opportunity on Oct. 3, Manufacturing Day, to learn more about manufacturing careers through tours and presentations of the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Fox Valley Technical Institute and of Oshkosh Defense manufacturing facility.

For students who are interested in hands-on work experience in manufacturing careers while still in high school, Patti Andresen-Shew, Education and Workforce Coordinator from the Oshkosh Chamber recommends pursuing a youth apprenticeship placement while in their junior and senior years.

Ken Notes: This is a GREAT Idea!!!!!!


In 2007, spurred by a projected skills gap in South Carolina’s workforce, state policymakers and the South Carolina Technical College System established an innovative apprenticeship program called Apprenticeship Carolina. Today—after just seven years—Apprenticeship Carolina consists of around 700 employer partners and over 10,400 current and former apprentices. This is just one example of many innovative apprenticeship programs emerging across the United States....

....A recent study in Washington state found that for every $1 in state investment in apprenticeships, taxpayers received $23 in net benefits, a return that far exceeds that of any other workforce-training program in the state....

....Although apprenticeships have proven to be an effective workforce-training tool, the United States has been slow to pick up the model. The Department of Labor, or DOL, through its Office of Apprenticeship, administers a small system of registered apprentices. Last year, the United States had about 375,000 registered apprentices, including 164,000 new apprentices who started programs in 2013. Per capita, these figures fall far below those of other nations, such as England, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Scotland....

Ken Notes: GREAT READ!


Madison Area Technical College will use a $1.2 million federal grant to help paramedics gain the skills needed to become nurses faster and to create a new medical certificate that can be earned in a summer and has long been desired by employers in the insurance industry.

The local job training money is part of a total $19.9 million awarded to the 16 Wisconsin technical colleges statewide. It was announced recently by Vice President Joe Biden and other federal officials as a way to help higher education institutions across the country deliver career training for in-demand jobs in health care.

Wisconsin's grant to "strengthen and expand job-training partnerships" was part of $450 million awarded this year to nearly 270 community colleges partnering with more than 400 employers nationally to create the needed health care jobs curriculum, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor. In a competitive grant program with the U.S Department of Education, it builds on $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funding previously awarded to colleges over the past three years for job-training programs in three other hot sectors: information technology, energy and advanced manufacturing...


Two large employers in Minnesota can’t find enough workers. Why?

MPR News reporter John Enger reports today that Polaris is flying in about a dozen “skilled” workers from Mexico to its plant in Roseau. The company has struggled finding enough workers for years and there are 200 jobs available.

Between 150 and 200 workers are holed up in hotels, because housing is hard to find.

Polaris wouldn’t comment on the story so it’s difficult getting an answer to the question: Is there a shortage of skilled workers or is the money not enough for skilled workers to want to work in Roseau?

On its website today, Polaris lists only seven job openings in Roseau.

In Rochester, the answer is a little clearer on the question of supply and demand.

There’s a nurse shortage at Mayo Clinic, so the medical organization is turning to nurses with associates degrees, citing a large number of retirements.....


If Wisconsin’s economy is recovering, there are a lot of people who aren’t sharing in it.

That’s the conclusion that can be reached by sobering census information released last month.

The poverty rate has grown from 10.4 percent in 2008 to 13.2 percent in 2012 and 13.5 percent in 2013. The child poverty rate is more discouraging — it rose from 13.3 percent in 2008 to 18.2 percent in 2012 and 18.4 percent in 2013. The median household income, inflation adjusted, has dropped from $54,210 in 2009 to $51,467 in 2013.

As Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said, “Recession or no recession, recovery or no recovery, we simply can’t accept three-quarters of a million Wisconsinites living in poverty as the ‘new normal.’”

Much attention is paid to the unemployment rate, which is dropping in the state, but it’s a misleading statistic for at least two reasons: It doesn’t account for how much the employed are being paid — less than at their former jobs — and it doesn’t account for people who have stopped looking for work.

Ken Notes: Many of the Wisconsin Apprentice stories are reprinted and the links are shared. We encourage this remember to follow the rules and credit the original authors, but our goal is to stimulate the discussion state wide. Please share WA with your friends and colleagues.


The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) announced, this past Tuesday, its plans to join forces with Mayor Tom Barrett’s Fatherhood Initiative at the upcoming Fatherhood Summit.....

MAWIB is planning and organizing a special session on Saturday morning of the summit in partnership with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/ BIG STEP.

It will be designed to inform and educate dads on job training and employment opportunities resulting from the construction of the new Northwestern Mutual headquarters and other workforce development programs and projects.....

Ken Notes: When I talk to groups and individuals about apprenticeship, I often hear about the "Father" roll trainers and coworkers took in the lives of the apprentice. I also see this in the dedication and work ethic of the apprentice graduate. They often consider the business family. Not a bad employee to have...


The Associated Press asked Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke for their responses in 130 words or less to the same 10 questions in advance of the Nov. 4 election. What follows are their responses....

Ken Notes: again just a reminder that both seem committed to new jobs and job training, now we need to remind them of this after the election...


An improving economy means more jobs for workers throughout the nation, and in the Ashland area, employers are looking for qualified people to fill good-paying manufacturing job openings.

Bringing together qualified job applicants and manufacturers seeking additional help was the goal of a program at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College’s Ashland campus Wednesday.

The program was entitled “Northwest Wisconsin’s Manufacturers Revealed” and it sought to let the public know what these area companies were about and the career opportunities they have available.....

“We provide the training, the opportunity for people to get their foot in the door and get in with these companies,” he said. “There are all kinds of jobs that you can find at a manufacturing setting. Some are one- or two-year degrees, some are four-year degrees, and we want to talk about all of the options that are available for people.”....


Dick Resch is CEO of KI Furniture.

The White House recently announced a $600 million investment in apprenticeship programs. The administration hopes to strengthen ties between community colleges and private companies — and equip workers with the skills needed to secure good-paying jobs in growing industries.

This initiative could not come at a better time. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Yet in manufacturing alone, half a million jobs are going unfilled because firms cannot find qualified workers.

That skills gap will only grow as the millions of baby boomers staffing our nation's factories retire.

The feds can't address our nation's shortage of skilled labor on their own. Private-sector firms — especially those in manufacturing — must also invest in training the next generation of workers. Indeed, without qualified staff fluent in the technology that runs today's factories, manufacturers will not be able to survive.

Ken Notes: KI was a client when I was consulting, they are extremely innovative and quick to respond to clients needs. His insight here is well worth reading. A question to my business trainers, do we have a resource library for students to read about what employers are looking for???? If not I would love to work on archiving some of these articles that could then be used in class or by placement professionals...


I am proud to be a part of the State of Opportunity series that will offer insight about different career paths across Wisconsin. Currently, as a career counselor for Wisconsin Job Service, I often work with individuals who are looking to enter into the world of work. I also have experience working specifically with students as both a high school and college counselor.

As a high school student, what if I choose a career that I don't like in "real life?"

Often high school students are fearful that they won't choose the "right job." Although this is a big decision that does require meaningful exploration, it is not a life-or-death decision. It is quite common for individuals to change careers in life.

However, high school students should take the time to learn how they would best fit into the world of work.

Oftentimes, we start the exploration process....   ...more

Annual graduates’ survey evaluates program viability

When he was a senior at Tremper High School, Josh Paul was accepted into the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

“When I got my acceptance letter my mom was bawling,” Paul said, remembering she was so thrilled he was accepted into a prestigious school. But after leaving home to study industrial engineering, he found it wasn’t what he expected.

“I ended up just not really liking it,” he said....

Ken Notes: Our techs are placing grads by working with businesses. Now we need more students entering the system and more businesses at the back end. Congrats Gateway!!!


Community leaders in Stevens Point say they want to put poverty in the spotlight, making sure it's talked about by candidates running for public office this fall.

That was the focus at the Central Wisconsin Poverty Summit in Stevens Point. 

About 50 people heard leaders from several religious and community organizations talk about poverty and the issues it raises....   ...more

Reggie Newson is secretary of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

...As a national leader in the delivery of vocational rehabilitation programs, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation actively serves almost 17,000 consumers a year. Services range from transitional employment opportunities and on-the-job training to permanent work environments. Additionally, Wisconsin's vocational rehabilitation program placed 4,415 individuals with disabilities into employment during the last twelve months.

Traveling throughout Wisconsin, I have heard and witnessed many DVR success stories from both employers and workers with disabilities.

In Wausau, I met a man named Jay who works with the DVR. Jay has a hearing impairment and had been on federal assistance. We helped Jay establish his employment goals and subsequently land a job at Linetec as a lab technician. Linetec was so impressed with the services by our DVR staff that it has hired several DVR job seekers with disabilities....


....If we redesign our high schools, we'll graduate more kids with the real world skills that lead directly to a good job in the new economy. If we invest more in job training and apprenticeships, we'll help more workers fill more good jobs that are coming back to this country. If we make it easier for students to pay off their college loans, we'll help a whole lot of young people breathe easier and feel freer to take the jobs they really want. Let's do this – let's keep reforming our education system to ensure that every kid has a shot at success like you do here at Northwestern.....President Obama   ...more

A group of consultants who help companies find the best locations for their businesses liked much of what they saw during a three-day stay in the Fox Valley, but they also noted some challenges the community faces in drawing new jobs.

Fox Valley Poll:
Does the Fox Cities area have a branding problem?

Four site selection consultants arrived in the Fox Valley this week for a tour organized by the Fox Cities Regional Partnership. They met with members of the business community and learned more about the region's business profile, labor and amenities...

Ken Notes: Interesting, when I was a Mayor up there I thought we were on the radar screen. Now that I work in Madison I know that with the possible exception of Milwaukee, Wisconsin metros are at best tier two. We have GREAT corporate structures and businesses but all are home grown... KC, Plexus, HD, Kohls, AmFam, Kohler, EPIC, JC, ManPower, Menards... and MANY More -- but few are serving as magnets for others and many of our best grads are seeking greener pastures elsewhere. This should be the focus of a new administration. We should get a Honda, or Apple facility here in the state. It is about have the skill-sets these companies need. We do we just don't show well...

A group of women sit around a table in an upstairs room of a church on Milwaukee's north side.

Some have mugs of coffee in front of them. Others have pastries or other snacks nearby.

Today's topic: anger. The women take turns speaking, and whoever is holding a plush frog has the floor.

The words tumble out as the women express their frustrations: from the everyday concerns — their kids aren't listening to them, or they're trying to move to a safer neighborhood — to deeper trauma, like abusive relationships, abandonment and sexual assault.

For many of the women, it's the first time anyone has asked about their lives and their feelings.

Ken Notes: Thumbs up! We so often design programs without knowing what the problems are. The first step in solving a problem is talking to the client...


Joseph Poole will make more than $100,000 in wages and overtime by the end of the year.

The 21-year-old works in what looks like NASA's mission control, monitoring the manufacturing process at Chevron Phillips petrochemical plant in Houston. Poole didn't get the job with the engineering degree he originally considered. Instead, Poole landed it with a two-year course at a local community college.

"The potential to make just as much money as an engineer, but for half the cost of the education, was here," Poole says. "Just seeing firsthand how things are made is something I really enjoy doing.".....


"I went to a four-year university." "That job requires a one-year certificate." "It's a two-semester course." "She's a fifth-year senior." What do these expressions have in common? They use time as the yardstick for higher education.

The new idea: Allow institutions to get student-aid funding by creating programs that directly measure learning, not time. Students can move at their own pace. The school certifies — measures — what they know and are able to do.

It's known as "direct assessment" or "competency-based education."


What does one wear to an interview? Well, for many people entering a new field of employment this decision is can be more intimidating than the interview itself.

On Tuesday, Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (CEP, Inc.) unveiled their newest initiative-- the Career Closet-- with the goal of assisting “disadvantaged, prospective job seekers obtain clean, appropriate clothing for jobseeking, interviews and new employment.”

Becky Stanhope, workforce resource specialist for CEP, Inc., said the vision for the closet is simple: to adequately prepare jobseekers with the right outfit.

Ken Notes: Great idea!


The Obama administration is awarding nearly a half-billion dollars to community colleges that are partnering with employers on job training.

Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts and Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley Technical College are the largest recipients and will each get about $20 million.

A Maryland program will receive $15 million to partner with companies like Raytheon and IBM to train workers with little education for jobs in cybersecurity or information technology. Community and technical colleges in Kentucky will get $10 million to expand online learning for degrees in computer and medical fields.

Vice President Joe Biden and the secretaries of Education and Labor will announce the grant winners Monday at the White House. Linking job training to industry demand is key to the administration's strategy to improve wages and reduce unemployment.


Nearly $20 million in two grants will be given to Chippewa Valley Technical College to be distributed among the state’s 16 technical schools to help students in the healthcare industry and others wanting to start a career.

The grants were announced Monday at the White House, and are a part of $450 million in job training grants.

“Congress authorized these grants as part of economic recovery legislation several years ago. Our technical college system as a whole decided we should present a united front and have all the technical colleges work together in seeking the grant money,” CVTC President Bruce Barker said.

CVTC and the Massacoit Community College in Massachusetts were the largest recipients of the grants in the nation.

The largest grant that CVTC will split up to all of the Wisconsin Technical College System schools is for $15 million and is an Advancing Careers and Training for Health Care grant. The largest amount, $1.5 million, will go to Milwaukee Area Technical College.

CVTC will get $722,178 that it will use for programs for the nursing-associate degree program. The money will be used to add staff and class sections so more students can taken classes. Part of the money will also go for the medical office receptionist program.

Barker said the grant will help CVTC serve about 150 more students in the program.

CVTC will also split among the 16 technical schools $3.8 million of the grant for simulation learning and technology in healthcare programs.

The second grant, for $5 million, will be used to help students stay on a path toward their careers. The money will be used for training, staff development and research that will aim for a unified approach for keeping students on the correct path, eliminating duplicative courses.

CVTC has campuses in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls, and serves an 11-county area in west-central Wisconsin....


For decades, facilities where people with disabilities do basic jobs while separated from non-disabled workers were praised for providing those with developmental disabilities opportunities to learn skills and build friendships.

But in recent years, increasing numbers of people, including disability rights advocates and federal officials, have raised concerns that many of these nonprofit training programs, known as “sheltered workshops,” keep disabled workers trapped in low-wage jobs — often making $2 to $3 an hour — and fail to help them move on to higher-paying opportunities in the private or public sectors.

Ken Notes: I have worked with these programs for 20+ years and know that these workshops are dedicated to providing the best opportunity they can for their clients. Many work to place clients in the private sector, but for many that is just not an option. We need to reach out and get involved before we point fingers. The work people do in this field is a gift to society.


The River Food Pantry's primary goal is feeding those struggling with hunger, but the pantry's unique new program, The River Bakery, combines providing food with finding employment.

The River Bakery students spend day in and day out making cookies, breads and scones

“I've learned how to do muffins a whole lot better,” said Emme Thorpe, a student at The River Bakery.

But ultimately what they're creating is a fresh start.

“I'd been unemployed for a while,” Thorpe said. “I hurt my back and can't do the heavy lifting that I usually do.”

That's why Thorpe applied for The River Food Pantry's free, bakery job training program.

“This is a nice tie-in to the food pantry,” said Pat Gallagher, community relations director for The River Food Pantry.

Thorpe's classmates have different backgrounds. Some are coming from the court system, others lost their jobs during the economic downturn...


Ground was ceremonially broken at 822 N. 6th Ave. in Sturgeon Bay for a 1,550-square-foot home in the Sunrise Hills subdivision that will be built mostly by high school students in the 8th annual Door-Kewaunee Business & Education Partnership (DKBEP) High School Home Construction Project.

The student builders from the four Door County public high schools have already been on the job for two weeks and have a foundation in place.

“This is a wonderful educational opportunity we have here,” said Sevastopol High School senior Caleb Hietpas. “I’ve learned so much just in the past couple of weeks.”

Joseph Poole will make more than $100,000 in wages and overtime by the end of the year.

The 21-year-old works in what looks like NASA's mission control, monitoring the manufacturing process at Chevron Phillips petrochemical plant in Houston. Poole didn't get the job with the engineering degree he originally considered. Instead, Poole landed it with a two-year course at a local community college.

"The potential to make just as much money as an engineer, but for half the cost of the education, was here," Poole says. "Just seeing firsthand how things are made is something I really enjoy doing."


This is an interesting time in the logging business, one of Wisconsin's signature industries. Sawmills are looking for logs and the logging industry is looking for loggers.

"It's a smidge more complicated than that but, yes, you could say there is a shortage of loggers," said Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, a trade association based in Rhinelander.

Among the reasons for the shortage is that is the state has lost loggers to the oil business.

"A lot of guys migrated to North Dakota with the gas and oil boom," Schienebeck said. "They are making good money out there. A lot of guys who were in our industry, they left and went out there."

Also, logging is rough, often dangerous work, and not everyone wants to do it.


How do you help children learn to read, write and do arithmetic?

You help their parents — too many of whom lack these skills.

It's an often overlooked yet important strategy that can boost student performance in Madison schools and across Wisconsin. It also is key to helping adults gain employment, earn higher wages and pull their families out of poverty.

A national campaign this week seeks to highlight the importance of adult education and family literacy. Parents in literacy classes in Madison, Eau Claire, Oconto, Marinette and Milwaukee will be meeting in the coming days with state lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — to show their success....


St. Olaf is a pretty awesome place, right?  Who wouldn’t want to stay around for a fifth year?  If you are Madeline Berger ’14, Isaac Burton ’14, Juan Fernando Yanqui Rivera ’14, Madeleine Senko ’14 and Caroline Wood ’14, then you get to do just that. They are the 2014-2015 art apprentices participating in a program that allows them to spend a year after graduation focusing on their artwork before moving on to graduate school or a career.   ...more

Extreme Tool & Engineering Inc. is located in remote Michigan and has an average employee age of 28.

Those two details might be considered disadvantages to some mold makers.

But for Mike Zacharias, they are a couple of key reasons why his Wakefield-based company is successful.

“I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being an old guy like me. But I do believe in the power of youth and reinvesting in training. The bottom line is we’re preparing for the next 40 years, not the last 40,” he said at the recent 2014 Plastics Caps & Closures conference in Rosemont....

...And they, like the owner, appreciate having a job that allows them to live in that part of the country. Workers commute anywhere from two to 40 miles, with some even coming from nearby Wisconsin to work....


"Dark. Dirty. Dangerous." "Manufacturing is going away." "Stay in school so you won't have to work in that factory."

These are just some of the misconceptions that are common about manufacturing, and these negative beliefs have had an effect. Our manufacturing workforce is aging, and the younger generation is not showing interest in getting the skills needed to replace these workers...

...One of the many "wins" from the Business and Education Committee has been the expansion of the youth apprenticeship program between schools and manufacturers.

Tyler Wolosek is a youth apprentice at NewPage's Research and Development, or R&D, facility. The apprenticeship is a state sponsored program that matches what a student learns in the work experience to his or her curriculum in school. Those who successfully complete the program get a state certificate.

Tyler's science teacher recommended him for the program, which will look great on his resume as he furthers his education in a science-related career after high school.



City leaders are teaming up with Northwestern Mutual to help match workers with hundreds of new construction jobs made available through the company's upcoming project. 

Northwestern Mutual is building a new tower in downtown Milwaukee and the project is expected to create nearly 1,000 construction jobs. The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership says it will provide training and access to trade apprenticeship opportunities for workers to begin a career in construction and find a job on the project. 

Alderman Russell Stamper II is hosting a meeting with WRTP from 6 to 8 p.m. September 22 at North Division High School.

In addition to job opportunities on the project, the meeting will also address barriers to employment, such as lack of a driver's license, GED, and other assistance. 

CBS 58's Matt Doyle has more....


For the first time since 2010, Milwaukee is accepting applications for city police officers.

Applicants must be a minimum of 21 years old and a U.S. citizen, and have a high school diploma or Wisconsin GED and a valid Wisconsin driver's license. Applicants must have the physical capacity to perform officer training and job duties and must pass a Milwaukee Police Department background investigation.

The city has hired police officers since 2010 but relied on an existing list of candidates. The new applications will be used to create a new list of candidates for hiring in the future.

The annual starting salary for a Milwaukee police officer is $49,786 with increases to a maximum of $66,606. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 17.

The Milwaukee Police and Fire departments also are accepting applications for their apprenticeship programs.

Police aide and fire cadet applicants must be 17 to 19 years old and expect to graduate from high school by July 1, 2015. Both positions are paid; applications will be accepted through Dec. 5.

For information and application forms, visit city.milwaukee.gov/fpc and click "Job Opportunities."...

Ken Notes: Please share with interested students!


It's safe to say that the goal of most every business owner is to build their business and then pass it down to their children. Farming, of course, is no different.

There is another option as well. My good friend, Joe Tomandl, is one of the founders of the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship - http://www.dairygrazingapprenticeship.org . This is a program unique to Wisconsin in which young people interested inleaningtheagriculturetrade, specificallydairyfarming, can get apprenticeships at area farms. I posted an article about it earlier this year ( http://wncy.com/blogs/agriculture/698/dairy-grazing-apprenticeship/ ) It's definitely an option for farmers if the next generation lacks the passion and enthusiasm for farming that they have.

Ken Notes: Another article that needs to be shared to get to the right people...

Wisconsin hospitals invested more than $176 million in 2013 to support training for physicians, nurses and other health care and allied professionals, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association's annual hospital community benefit survey.

WHA representatives say that number is higher than recent years, but data for previous years were not provided by BizTimes Milwaukee’s deadline.

According to the WHA, on-site clinical training is an essential element in the education process for all health care professionals, but it requires a major commitment of time and financial resources from hospitals and clinics to implement and administer.    ...more

In an interview on Thursday with the Daily News, Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers discussed what he has been doing to close the state’s achievement gap. He also urged legislators to increase funding for public schools while prohibiting expansion of school voucher availability.

“Over the past several biennia legislators have chosen to put their priorities elsewhere,” Evers said. “We need to make sure we have a good trained workforce. One of the best ways to have it is to support public education. We need to make sure that can happen. We are not increasing our population much, and we are relying more on our schools to make sure kids are college and career ready.”

Ken Notes: I like Tony and actually offered him a job once (long story), but I wish he would address school to work transitions more.  Because of the economics he and teachers remain committed to keeping everyone in the classroom until they graduate, for some this is clearly not the best option. Instead of vouchers couldn't we work with business to provide additional money to education at the secondary level for transitioning students to the workplace.


How do you help children learn to read, write and do arithmetic?

You help their parents -- too many of whom lack these skills.

It's an often overlooked yet important strategy that can boost student performance in Madison schools and across Wisconsin. It also is key to helping adults gain employment, earn higher wages and pull their families out of poverty.

A national campaign this week seeks to highlight the importance of adult education and family literacy. Parents in literacy classes in Madison, Eau Claire, Oconto, Marinette and Milwaukee will be meeting in the coming days with state lawmakers -- Republicans and Democrats -- to show their success....

..."The employers are telling us there are tons of opportunities, but they can't find the people with the skills they need," Erikson said from Friday's conference.


Madison’s YWCA CEO puts her passion for public service to work, striving to resolve the racial and gender disparities that divide the community
How did you begin your work in the nonprofit sector?
My entire career I’ve been in people-related jobs. Even as a kid I worked at summer camps. Eventually I went to graduate school and got a social work degree and had intended to work in clinical counseling at a university health center or something like that. But instead I was placed in a nonprofit organization and really fell in love with nonprofits and the atmosphere of nonprofits....

Ken Notes: Nice read and the non profit sector does not get nearly enough credit for the work they do to improve our workforce!


The state wants Gurnee to be known for computer chips as well as roller coasters and outlet stores: It's offering $3.5 million in incentives to lure a Hoffmann Estates-based semiconductor company to move its headquarters to Gurnee instead of another state.

Akhan Semiconductor says it will nearly triple its headcount to 80 employees in the next two years — mostly in research and technogy — and invest $15 million.

If it reaches those goals, the company will get $3 million in credits over 10 years to offset Illinois income taxes. Akhan also will get $500,000 for relocation costs and $40,000 on job training assistance.

Ken Notes: I have been an advocate for job incentives based on tax credits for new jobs and training credits for several years. It seems to be working in Illinois. Specifically for apprenticeship it seems to make sense to invest with the company in the education and skill set needed to create a lifelong taxpayer, what am I missing??


Gov. Scott Walker has unveiled his vision for a second term should he win re-election in November — a broad plan covering job training, tax cuts, education and public assistance restrictions....

...Expanding the number of youth and other apprenticeships....

Ken Notes: Very nice to see we made the list (actually apprenticeships have been mentioned in both camps) now we need to see substantive change come from rhetorical promises aimed at votes. WisconsinApprentice.com is dedicated to keep the issue of school to work transition front and center regardless of who is in office. Did you know that WA is read by every legislative office in the state capitol. For the record WA is nonpartisan, pro education, pro business and very pro creating better jobs and transitioning our youth and displaced workers into them.

More than 100 colleges, universities, trade and tech schools and representatives of the military will be at the Wisconsin Education Fair, an annual event designed to help people sort through a maze of information about education after high school.

The fair will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday in the fieldhouse of University of Wisconsin Marathon County, located on the corner of Seventh and Garfield avenues in Wausau. The event will offer a one-stop source for people to learn about the wide swath of post-secondary options available across the state and country....


Twelve organizations and individuals were named recipients of the Excellence in Manufacturing/K-12 Partntership Awards by the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance.

In the manufacturing category, recipients are Kondex Corp., Lomira, Educational Partnership; Pioneer Metal Finishing, Ashwaubenon, Youth Apprenticeship; N.E.W. Plastics, Luxemburg, Leadership; KI, Bellevue, Brighter Image; Johnsonville Sausage, Sheboygan Falls, Manufacturing Innovation; Jim Koronkiewicz, BPM Inc., Peshtigo, Visionary....

Ken Notes: Congrats!!!


University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross talked from Madison about public policy issues impacting higher education institutions as well as the role of the Big Ten athletic conference.

This program was part of a “Washington Journal” series of interviews with university officials during a C-SPAN Bus tour of the universities of the Big Ten Conference. Topics included college costs and student debt, university admission policies, curricula, academic standards, campus safety, faculty issues, research capabilities, and how universities were preparing graduates for careers and adult life....   ...more

Milwaukee-based Busch Precision recently acquired certain assets, including two lines of business, from West Allis-based Maintenance Service Corp.

As a result, Busch has expanded its capabilities through a new Maintenance Service division, which offers machine tool service and repair and CNC retrofitting....

...He also plans to add an apprenticeship program in cooperation with Milwaukee Area Technical College and Waukesha County Technical College, hopefully beginning next fall and working with two to four apprentices per year.

“We are going to need more help,” Mallwitz said.....


Dan Pittman would like to see his environmental science company invest in college students, but there’s a limited budget for interns.

The township-based TestAmerica typically hires one or two every few years.

“If I want my industry to advance itself, it’s kind of a negative vicious cycle,” Pittman said.
But through a partnership with Kent State University at Stark, the company’s laboratory director expects to receive funding to bring on an intern this year to work as a rotating technician in the company’s labs and help prepare samples for analysis.

Kent State at Stark is one of 40 colleges in four states to win a grant that will allow staff to pair students who demonstrate a financial need with paid internships...

...The grant comes from the Wisconsin-based Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates, a nonprofit student loan servicer with a mission of helping more people have the chance to attend and complete college.

The organization awarded $5.2 million in grants this year to schools in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Last year, the group ran a smaller pilot program and distributed about half that amount to 19 schools in Wisconsin. All but 2 percent of participants either graduated from college or re-enrolled following their internship experiences, according to statistics on the Great Lakes website....

Ken Notes: We have added Great Lakes to our Tool Box....

Former state Rep. Tamara Grigsby has returned to Madison, to serve as community relations director for the Dane county executive's office. ...

...Also, we have a Dane County work apprenticeship program. We take the people who have gone through (the Boys & Girls' Club internship) program and place them in county internships, so that they can get a higher level of experience. That’s something solid to put on a resume and provide some real work experience for young people....   ...more

.....Twenty years ago, long before most of us had ever heard of CSR, let alone made it part of our standard practices, the local Boston Store in Milwaukee, WI, now owned by The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. began a partnership with Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. Through this partnership, Boston Store gave coupons to customers who donated clothing and textiles to benefit the Milwaukee Goodwill. The coupons could be used for significant discounts at Boston Store. The idea was solid:

• It engaged consumers in a campaign that helps others in their own community by supporting Goodwill's local job training programs.
• It was easy to participate-- just round up a few items from your closet that you no longer use and bring them to the store.
• It offered a significant reward for the person taking part -- discount shopping!....

Ken Notes: National Press we can use!!!!


The “Fab Lab,” a 44-foot trailer based at North Central Michigan College, a community college in northern Michigan, houses a mobile digital fabrication lab and doubles as a classroom-on-wheels.

Its purpose is to equip and help students consider a career in high-tech manufacturing, learn to operate CNC (computer-numerical controlled) machines, and gain credits toward a college certificate or engineering degree.

Unveiled to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Petoskey this past spring, the Fab Lab contains 12 state-of-the-art computers loaded with SURFCAM and AutoCAD design programs, a lathe-turning center, and milling equipment. Inspired by a similar mobile unit based in Appleton, Wisconsin, the lab is unique in its rural locale, offering workplace simulations and hands-on training to high school and college students in advanced machining.


“Dark. Dirty. Dangerous.” “Manufacturing is going away.” “Stay in school so you won’t have to work in that factory.” These are just some of the misconceptions that are common about manufacturing, and these negative beliefs have had an effect. Our manufacturing workforce is aging and the younger generation is not showing interest in getting the skills needed to replace these workers.

Manufacturing has long been the economic driver for the United States. According to Manufacturing Institute, U.S. Manufacturing is the world’s eighth largest economy. Every dollar in final sales of manufactured products supports $1.33 in output from other work sectors. This is by far the largest multiplier of any employment sector.

Ken Notes: One of our failures in the educational system is our in ability to paint an accurate picture of what the real workplace is like. There needs to be a stronger connection between businesses and the educational system. We never question the need for doctors to intern yet we ask most high school graduates to jump headfirst into a workplace they know little about.


A vice president at Gov. Scott Walker's job-creation agency who resigned his position in August then changed his mind two days later complained about the competency of the second-in-command, Walker's former deputy chief of staff, documents released to The Associated Press on Monday showed.

The documents, which include the resignation letter, a response memo, and other internal emails praising the vice president, reveal bitter disagreements among top leaders of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Walker created the quasi-public agency in 2011 to lead job-creation efforts in the state to help him fulfill his promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs.

Ken Notes: Wow this is just wrong all the way around. WEDC has to refocus on jobs, training, skills, and opportunities for our workforce. I do not get it, I know great people who have left and off the record expressed concern with direction, too much politics, and a lack of understanding. I am not, nor will not throw stones here, but as an advocate for business I can suggest we need to work together to create skilled workers and a level playing field for business to succeed.


The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board (NWWIB) has hired a new project manager for the Health Career and Regional Employment (HealthCARE) Project. Andrea Huggenvik will work with employers in the healthcare industry to fill current and projected job openings in high growth occupations through an on-the-job training program. She comes from higher education student affairs administration. Huggenvik brings years of experience in training and development and working with millennials.

The HealthCARE assists private for-profit and private non-profit employers to offset the cost of bringing on a new worker. Employers taking part in the HealthCARE Project must commit to employ participants on the first day on-the-job training begins. During the training period, HealthCARE employers, dependent on their size, can receive up to 50 to 90 percent wage reimbursement for retaining an eligible HealthCARE Project participant. Training consists of a period of 40 hours per week or less with a maximum reimbursement rate up to $5,821 per new hire.


Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson visited Hudson Wednesday, Aug. 27. He met with Hudson School District officials and received an update on a $108,497 Fast Forward grant awarded to the district’s Accelerating Youth Career Readiness project.

The Fast Forward program was designed to help close the state’s job skills gap -- training students for jobs that are in demand.

Newson said one of the DWD’s most important missions is to help get students involved in training for those high-demand jobs.

Having a job is important to most of us, and people with developmental disabilities are no exception.
Over the past year, Wisconsin has done more to help make that dream come true for more of them.

At the 2013 National Governor's Assocation conference, Wisconsin's Scott Walker looked to an example set by Delaware democrat Jack Markell to put more money into job training and promoting employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

He calls it "The Better Bottom Line initiative."
The professionals who work everyday to place these individuals with private companies say the renewed emphasis and added money has made a tangible difference....

Ken Notes: Great story!


Here at the Pacific Northwest Lenders conference in Portland, a big topic of conversation is, like it is everywhere, regulation. Understandably private companies are making money off of the quagmire of government regulations. "In an effort to clarify a number of intertwined regulations and agencies, AllRegs has created a concise and comprehensive mortgage regulator guide. Whether you're a community bank, credit union, savings bank or private mortgage lender, this guide will help you understand the current regulatory landscape. This guide also includes links to the relevant state agencies for mortgage lending according to the Act they regulate." Of course the lenders want to lend but as pointed out in this article, when any and every default can result in a far more costly response for frivolous and immaterial errors it creates a defensive lending strategy. It is almost comical to watch some branches of the government encouraging guideline widening and catering to underserved borrowers while other branches are busy with excessive put back, indemnification negotiations, and enforcement policies.....
And which processor in their right mind wants to work on a loan file 4 inches thick? In Wisconsin, an entire lending operation was shut down due to lack of trained personnel.

Ken Notes: Opportunity???


International Literacy Day is recognized each year on Sept. 8. This helps raise awareness of the importance of reading and basic math skills in health and education. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, commonly known as UNESCO, founded the day in 1966.

The importance of being able to read and perform basic math is often overlooked and may impact millions of people. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy, 14 percent of adults in the U.S. are illiterate, 21 percent read below a fifth-grade level, and 19 percent of high school graduates can’t read. Wisconsin has approximately 1 million adults who qualify for adult literacy and English language services. However, less than 10 percent of Wisconsin adults needing help currently receive the services they need. Marathon and Wood counties have illiteracy rates of about 8 percent. More than 13,000 adults in the two counties are illiterate...

To find out more about the CWLC, please visit www.centralwisconsinliteracycouncil.org.


Nasif Rogers, a social studies teacher by training who now works as an instructional coach at Nicolet High School, knows there's an achievement gap at his school.

Nicolet's average graduation rate, ACT and Advanced Placement exam scores are impressive, but the marks of the majority student population — middle- to high-income students from educated families — mask some of the lower scores of a small group of students from lower-income families.

And research suggests even the highest-performing Nicolet students in math lag behind the average student in Asia.

What to do about that gap?

The Milwaukee School of Engineering, of all places, thinks it has a solution. As does the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., which partnered with MSOE's business school and local education leaders to launch a new type of school administrator preparation program this summer — an MBA in Education Leadership that blends on-the-job management training in schools with business-school coursework.

Rogers is one of 15 candidates pursuing the new program, officially known as the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership. The participants — who are mostly teachers from area urban and suburban schools with some leadership experience — were officially introduced this week at a ceremony at MSOE......

Ken Notes: READ THIS article. This type of program should be anything but unusual! Thanks MSOE!


The White House recently announced a $600 million investment in apprenticeship programs. The Administration hopes to strengthen ties between community colleges and private companies — and equip workers with the skills needed to secure good-paying jobs in growing industries.

This initiative could not come at a better time. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Yet in manufacturing alone, half a million jobs are going unfilled because firms cannot find qualified workers.

That skills gap will only grow as the millions of Baby Boomers staffing our nation’s factories retire.

The feds can’t address our nation’s shortage of skilled labor on their own. Private-sector firms — especially those in manufacturing — must also invest in training the next generation of workers. Indeed, without qualified staff fluent in the technology that runs today’s factories, manufacturers will not be able to survive.

Modern manufacturing is more than pulling levers and navigating forklifts throughout a plant. Consider the workflow of, say, an engineer at a facility making chairs.....


If you have not seen this yet CLICK THE TITLE It is a MUST SEE... Share this...

Teachers get footloose: Two teachers at Union Grove High School in Wisconsin came up with this catchy little video to raise money for school projects.

Ken notes: Congrats to all who worked on this....

Careers in manufacturing are a vital part of Wisconsin and our local economy. In a recent press release, Gov. Scott Walker confirmed how much manufacturing means to the state's economy and workforce, Wisconsin's manufacturing sector employs more than 450,000 workers and contributes nearly $50 billion to the state's economic input.

On a more regional level, Jeffrey Sachse, senior economic advisor for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, supports and further defines what manufacturing means to businesses and their employees, noting, "Manufacturing remains a vital industry sector in the Winnebago County and Northeastern Wisconsin economy. Manufacturers employ nearly 23,000 workers, or more than one-fourth of all employment in the county. Manufacturing workers also continue to enjoy a high standard of living as their annual average wage of $61,346 in 2013 was one-third above the average wages received by workers across the county ($46,187)."...

Realizing that building a strong workforce begins with developing local talent, five Oshkosh Chamber manufacturing employers have signed up to participate in the State of Wisconsin's youth apprenticeship program supported by the Oshkosh Area School District and the Oshkosh Chamber. This program allows high school juniors and seniors to work and take courses in a career field they have aspirations to pursue....

Ken Notes: Congrats but we do need exponentially more students is the programs! Lets make this the year of apprenticeship....

As the Secretary of Labor, I have a unique opportunity to meet with employers around the country of all sizes and from an array of industries. So many of them tell me the same thing: They're ready to grow their businesses and to hire more people.

But here's the rub: Too often, they can't find workers who have the skills they need.

Meanwhile, although businesses have added 9.9 million jobs since February 2010, a lot of people are still hurting, unable to access the opportunities that will allow them to share in our national recovery. About a third of those who remain unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more.

So what exactly does "job-driven training" look like? Here's an example. The Wisconsin State Bureau of Apprenticeship has been creating better jobs and brighter futures through apprenticeship for over 100 years. Wisconsin partners with a statewide network of technical colleges which are the primary providers of related instruction....

Ken Notes: Nice to know we are on the radar screen, now we need to expand the program and since the US want to use us as a shining example of how this works they should be happy to help. I'm just saying...


Quad/Graphics Inc. has shut down 21 printing plants since 2010, when the biggest printer of magazines and catalogs in North America launched a wholesale restructuring.

Casualties of a digital age, the closures are commonplace in a shrinking ink-on-paper industry that has shed a quarter of a million jobs nationally in little more than a decade.

In Quad's home state of Wisconsin, however, it's a whole different story.

"We are actively recruiting," said Rachel Leatherbury, a senior Quad executive.

The Sussex-based company is in the process of filling 750 openings in Wisconsin, where Quad has kept all nine of its printing plants up and running. That includes its "mega-plant" in Lomira that Quad calls the largest printing plant in the Western Hemisphere.


A former director of Madison's Community Development Division will head the local chapter of a workforce development intermediary group.

Bill Clingan, who led the city agency from 2008 to 2012 and also served on the Madison School Board, was named program director for Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/Big Step in the Madison area Tuesday.    ...more

In a visit today to Vital Plastics in Baldwin, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson cited a collaborative worker training project as another good example of how Governor Walker's visionary Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative is helping build a skilled workforce to the benefit of working families, communities around the state and Wisconsin's expanding economy overall.
"Wisconsin Fast Forward is proving to be a strategic investment with big impact," Secretary Newson said. "Governor Walker's approach to delivering customized, employer-driven training has encouraged new partnerships, a collaborative spirit as we are seeing here at Vital Plastics. And it's building skills as planned, in this case helping workers and their employers advance, succeed as a team, and in doing so, keep our economy expanding and moving forward."...   ...more

For all that former Rep. Dave Obey was a partisan brawler in his 42-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he certainly was that, he also was someone who believed in and promoted universal values: civic engagement, democratic participation, community involvement.

He promoted Wausau and his Northwoods district and he left a lasting legacy in the form of Wisconsin's technical college system, job training programs and hundreds of miles of roads and bridges, all of which he pushed for and oversaw as a legislator.

Now Obey will have a well-deserved center in his name at the University of Wisconsin Marathon County, and it will be dedicated in large part to helping young people connect with the civic virtues he built his career around.

Ken Notes: Thumbs up!!!!


Close to 20 academic leaders from the region's institutions convened at Marquette University on Thursday afternoon to discuss the possibility of an innovation district in the region with greater collaboration among corporations and academics.

At the head of that district is The Commons, a Milwaukee-based startup that will give students from a cross sector of institutions opportunities to engage in entrepreneurial activities while connecting with corporations and mentors.

Leading The Commons is Startup Milwaukee, an organization that equips entrepreneurs with mentors, office space, talent and other resources, and Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE), an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee that fosters a local entrepreneurial environment.

Together, the organizations envision The Commons as a mentor-driven, seed accelerator program for startups and a program that will exclusively serve entrepreneurial-minded college students...

Ken Notes: Brilliant! Their Website is HERE! Check it out!

The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce is doing what chambers do, but differently than it did them before.

Led this year by the triumvirate of board chair Christopher Del-Moral Niles of Associated Banc-Corp, chairman-elect Dr. Ashok Rai of Prevea Health, and Laurie Radke, who was named chamber president three years ago Monday, the organization seeks to operate in a more integrated way, both internally and in the community....

Tom Lyga, director of leadership and education, oversees the Golden Apple Awards for teachers, Leadership Green Bay training program, Current young professionals network, Brown County Teen Leadership program, youth apprenticeship and any other work-based education programs.

"Moving forward, we want to be in alignment with Achieve Brown County," Radke said. "We are talking about how the Partners in Education board can play a part."....

Ken Notes: Chambers and other business leaders need to reach out to partner with local schools to help train the workforce needed for today's industrial jobs. Congrats GB.


Cheese is a subject of great importance, and great passion, in Wisconsin. And it is a tradition among the Henning family of that state, whose factory in the small town of Kiel celebrates its 100th anniversary this year....

Wisconsin takes its cheese very seriously, as the only state that requires a cheesemaker to be licensed. It also mandates that a licensed cheesemaker be on-site when cheese is produced for retail sales. The licensing process includes extensive study and special coursework, as well as an apprenticeship....

A “Master’?s Mark” on a Wisconsin cheese is a badge of honor. It indicates that the cheesemaker has produced cheese for at least 10 years. Then, after that much dedication, there is still a three-year program requiring more schooling in everything from cheese technology to applied dairy chemistry. Samples of the candidate‘?s cheese must be assessed regularly for consistency and quality, and there is an intensive final exam. The program is administered by the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison...

Ken Notes: We need more programs like this that help make Wisconsin known worldwide. Brewing comes to mind along with organic farming, water management, paper chemistry (which we had but lost), conservation, and education....

Residence halls are being prepped, school supplies are flying off the shelves, and the sports season has already started. As local K-12 and college students get ready for classes, which begin Sept. 2 in most schools, it’s a perfect time to pause and reflect on the importance of education.

The job Wisconsin is doing educating its students from kindergarten through college will be an important campaign topic as we head into the fall elections. That’s justifiable, as our future workforce and community leaders are being shaped and prepared through education.

The workforce shortage that looms in Wisconsin because of the retiring Baby Boomers makes the success of education even more important. We need an educational system that simultaneously preps students for vocational and trade occupations as well as setting a clear course for higher education degrees....


In February 2012, one of the Democrats who aimed to unseat Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin’s historic recall election made an aggressive claim....we wondered about Walker’s claiming in a new TV ad, which his campaign highlighted in an Aug. 13, 2014 news release, that he has "invested over $100 million in worker training."...

Ken Notes: We (WA) do NOT do politics, but this is a great overview of cuts, additions, and programs in the state.  The Journal Sentinel did a nice job of sorting this all out --- the links in the article are also very valuable!...

Wisconsin has held onto its No. 2 spot among states on the ACT college entrance exam.

The state’s high school seniors scored an average composite of 22.2 out of a possible 36, ranking just behind Minnesota among states where significant numbers of students take the test.

“Our 2014 graduates did a fine job on the ACT,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Their efforts, along with support from their teachers and parents, have resulted in statewide ACT scores that are second in the nation among ACT-taking states.”

“Business and industry leaders have told us that to be college-ready is to be career-ready,” said Evers. “We want our students to pursue rigorous coursework so they are prepared for the next steps after high school graduation, whether that is further study at a two- or four-year college or university or training with apprenticeship programs, military service, or the workforce.”

Ken Notes: I hope we can convince Tony of the value of apprenticeship in the senior or even junior years of high school... Many forgo the training they need to quickly enter the workforce after high school. As time goes on it becomes more and more difficult to return to school or find an apprenticeship program to  get the best jobs. We clearly have the proof that they are qualified. Use the "Share" option to share this article with your linked in associates - good news is good for business...


Workforce development means different things to different people — which is why the term carries emotional and political weight across Wisconsin, from its small towns to its major cities.

It also explains why policymakers must aspire to devise a balanced approach to meeting Wisconsin’s diverse workforce needs.

If you live in a city where a significant percentage of young adults don’t even graduate from high school, workforce development is about survival: Avoiding a lifetime of low-wage jobs and living on the edge.

Ken Notes: I may have run this last week -- over 500 news outlets read Wisconsin Apprentice and if they pick up a story or article and report it (this is encouraged) we see it again the next week.... I try to filter these but Tom is pretty prolific and fun to read...


Employers looking for help and job hunters looking for work are invited to a large career expo in Stevens Point next month  and in GB in October.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson announced the fair last week. Newson says it will be the first in central Wisconsin.

Central Wisconsin: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. September 16 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point.

Bay Area: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. October 9 at Shopko Hall in Green Bay.

More information is available online at wisconsincareerexpo. com


A recent federal ruling aims to help find jobs for people with developmental disabilities, but some Wisconsin families are worried about how it will be implemented.

The decision involves working conditions for people who have cognitive disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. Some may have trouble reading, counting money or being in large groups, which leaves them with limited options.

Often they end up employed at so-called "sheltered workshops," where they perform basic tasks but are separated from nondisabled workers — in part so they can get needed services or be in stress-free surroundings....

Ken Notes: I have been very involved on both sides of this issue and can assure you that the "sheltered workshops"do their very best to mainstream as many of their people as possible -- but they also provide much needed care for those who are not a fit for the public workspace. The government intentions may be good, but reality has to be addressed and as always the solutions are found in the middle...


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Technology Commercialization have awarded grants from the Ideadvance Seed Fund to 11 startups, including seven from the Milwaukee area.

The grantees, who will receive up to $25,000 each, include: BioMass Builders, based at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Intelligent Composites, UW-Milwaukee; Isopoint Technologies, UWM; Mesmer, UWM; Sleep Environment Innovations, UWM; OptSolv, UW-Whitewater; and Mobile Transit Solutions, UW-Parkside.   ...more

In Wisconsin, the census shows the state lost 8,700 farms in the last five years and the average age of a farmer is 57-years-old. To make sure farming remains a staple in our state, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship was start in 2010 in Medford.

Program Director, Joe Tomandl says, "If we want to become a teacher, doctor, or layer there's a pathway. But if we want to become a dairy farmer, there really isn't. So we created a formalized apprenticeship registered with the WI Dept. of Workforce Development in dairy farming."

The objective is after two years, a person has the skills to help manage a dairy or transition into a dairy operation. Apprentices work on a farm under a guided workbook. Tomandl describes it as a paying job, "earning while learning."

So far, 7 people have completed the course and are now working in the dairy industry. Currently, there are 5 apprentices going through the course.

Ken Notes: This is a great program, we need to replicate it across the state and across multiple disciplines.


Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today cited Klondike Cheese Company in Monroe as an example of how recruiting and hiring people with disabilities can help employers succeed, which is the focus for Governor Walker's proclamation of 2014 as Year of A Better Bottom Line.

"I want to commend Klondike Cheese Company for doing their part in growing Wisconsin's economy," Secretary Newson said. "The partnership that Klondike Cheese Company has with our agency's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a good example of finding the right person for the right job."

DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson, on behalf of Secretary Newson, highlighted DVR's Business Services initiative to engage more employers across the state. As part of the initiative, 20 Business Services Consultants were hired by DVR last year and have dramatically expanded DVR's outreach efforts to employers.    ...more

The goal in Wauwatosa was to better attract and retain top-flight educators; the method was to change the way teachers are compensated.

A new compensation model, approved in February, calls for teachers to earn anywhere between $40,000 and $80,700 a year, based largely on their performance.

But teachers had concerns: Would principals alone determine the initial salary they'd start at in the new model? Did years of service matter at all anymore? Or was everything based on performance evaluations?...

Ken Notes: To do this we need to remove all the other hurdles like health care, retirement, how we conduct performance evaluations, and who are we educating. It does not help if the college bound are better prepared and the blue collar workers are not given the skills they need or vice versa...


Wisconsin added 3,200 jobs in July, federal estimates released Monday show, with an uncommon surge in employment in the financial field.

The gain puts Wisconsin's growth in private-sector jobs since Gov. Scott Walker was inaugurated in January 2011 at 115,100 using monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics program. Walker pledged 250,000 new jobs in his first four-year term.

In July, the biggest growth was seen in the financial activities and other services sectors, the latter being a catch-all category for jobs that don't fit into other groups....

Ken Notes: As manufacturing and construction rebounds we will need skilled workers. We have to address this at the school to work transitional level as well as displaced workers. The jobs we are adding in the "Other Service Sector" are not a fix for Wisconsin. Push for skills not jobs. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Wow that's good - feel free to use it...


To quote George Gershwin: "Summertime, and the livin' is easy."

Summer is when many NewPage employees take vacations to be with family and friends. Extra help is needed to keep the mills running efficiently, productively and safely. The summer vacation relief program provides the needed personnel to allow for vacations while giving much needed summer jobs to youths.

Summer vacation relief, or SVR, students are used in five NewPage mills: Escanaba, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; and Biron, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids. There have been thousands of SVRs through the years. The SVRs have used these summertime positions to help pay for college, as work experience for a future job or perhaps to buy their first car. This summer, the five mills employed 130 SVRs....


Flames shooting more than 20 feet in the air. It’s not your normal day on the job for firefighters from Fall Creek, Augusta and Altoona.

Crews from around the area honed their skills Monday night learning how to extinguish a household hazard.

National numbers show 1,000 accidental fires are caused each year by propane gas.

That's why more than 30 firefighters from the area got specialized training learning how to deal with this kind of hazard....


Workforce development means different things to different people — which is why the term carries emotional and political weight across Wisconsin, from its small towns to its major cities.

It also explains why policymakers must aspire to devise a balanced approach to meeting Wisconsin’s diverse workforce needs.

If you live in a city where a significant percentage of young adults don’t even graduate from high school, workforce development is about survival: Avoiding a lifetime of low-wage jobs and living on the edge.

If home is rural Wisconsin and some of your best and brightest young people believe they must move away for brighter futures, it means something else: Stopping the “brain drain” and saving your community...


A long-time agriculture public relations figure has returned to the Badger State to serve as the communications director for the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association. Tom Thieding of Verona, who is known for his many years as spokesperson for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and later serving as corporate communications manager at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, will promote the organization's advocacy for Wisconsin corn producers.

The WCGA is a membership organization that represents the interest of state corn growers in the growing and managing of corn grown both for on-farm feeding and commercial sale. Thieding will help promote the group and its efforts in his new capacity.

Ken Notes: Welcome Back. Tom is Very good at what he does....


Concordia University Wisconsin, located in Mequon, will diversify its academic offerings this fall with a new college designed for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Bethesda College of Applied Learning at CUW will begin offering courses of study for eight students at the end of the month, guiding them toward independence. The two-year program is made possible by a partnership between CUW and Bethesda Lutheran Communities, a Watertown-based nonprofit organization that works with individuals with developmental disabilities in programs throughout 14 states....

Ken Notes: Thumbs up... WAY UP!! Share this one...

The future of economic progress in Wisconsin is being questioned in a new report from the Wisconsin Budget Project, which shows state lawmakers may be hindering the tradition of investing in education and other assets that contribute to business growth and development.

Research analyst and report co-author Tamarine Cornelius said decisions made by state legislators over the past three years have derailed the Wisconsin's history of investing in education and health care.

Cornelius said the people of Wisconsin have long viewed these investments as building blocks to prosperity.

"We have a great university system, a very solid structure of public schools and over time we’ve built up the resources we need to make those excellent education systems, and it's paid off,” she said. “But today's lawmakers have rolled back some of those investments and unfortunately, we're seeing some of the results."

Ken Notes: We have a breakdown in the trust and understanding regarding higher education. We HAVE to fix this, we have a great system and the potential to do great things -- but the politics in Madison and on some campuses is creating a disconnect. We need to start advocating for things we can agree on like skills, school to work transitions, keeping jobs and grads in Wisconsin, on the job training, and of course apprenticeship.


Chris Holman came to Wisconsin for a doctorate in world language studies but instead became a farmer.

Kriss Marion, a former journalist from Chicago, came here to raise a few sheep and have a bigger garden. She never imagined she would have a farm that provides fresh food for 50 families.

You could call them accidental farmers, since getting into full-time agriculture was not part of their plan. What Holman and Marion have in common now, though, is they're enrolled in the Beginning Farmers Institute, a national program meant to develop leaders in a career field that faces scores of retirements....


An interactive map posted online this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms what you probably already knew about Wisconsin’s economy: Manufacturing and the jobs it produces are vital to the state.

The map reveals that while many state economies have shifted away from manufacturing, Wisconsin and most of its Midwest neighbors have remained somewhat reliant on that sector. The state is home to about 9,400 manufacturers who collectively employ about 450,000 people, or nearly 17 percent of the state’s workforce. It was fifth among the 50 states in manufacturing job growth from 2009 through 2012.

That’s simultaneously encouraging and challenging: Encouraging because Wisconsin has retained much of its core expertise in an era of global competition – and challenging because several bedrock industries — such as paper, plastic and printing — remain under pressure.

Ken Notes: Tom agrees I believe...


When Oregon School District director of technology Jon Tanner found out he won a grant to host a summer personalized learning workshop on “gamification” of classrooms, he figured it would be a good learning opportunity for district teachers.

The July 24 event ended up drawing nearly 150 educators from all around the state, from as far away as Green Bay and Milwaukee, proof positive that not only is personalized learning catching on, teachers around the state are taking notice of what’s going on in Oregon.

The event was focused on personalizing learning and how game design can be used to improve classroom learning; a combination of two popular trends in education, Tanner said. He won the grant from the Wisconsin Technology Initiative, which paid for the entire event, including breakout sessions facilitated by K-12 Wisconsin educators from around the state. Those included 14 presenters from the district, as well as staff from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and UW-Madison....


Being laid off from your job can be traumatic, confusing and difficult. But dislocated workers in Portage County do not have to go it alone — there are resources and programs to help them make the transition back into the workforce as quickly as possible.

With the news of the upcoming Roundy’s Copps Distribution Center closure, local elected officials, business partners and education providers are working together to respond to the closure and identify services to help the soon-to-be displaced Roundy’s workers.

I recently co-hosted a meeting with the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and other community leaders to begin this collaboration. It was positive, productive and especially heartening to see the board’s leadership and hard work on behalf of all central Wisconsin workers....


Wisconsin businesses, which supply the U.S. military with billions of dollars worth of goods and services, are feeling the effects of the wind-down of the war in Afghanistan.

Still, pockets of defense spending remain, helping support state companies and jobs.

The Department of Defense recently announced that Oshkosh Corp. had received a $45 million contract to refurbish and upgrade as many as 800 all-terrain trucks for the U.S. Army, with the work to be completed by the end of 2015.

Goodwill Industries in Milwaukee received a $12.7 million contract to provide laundry, galley and other services for Naval Station Great Lakes, a Navy training center south of Kenosha in northern Illinois...

Ken Notes: We should explore changing technologies in the military. Alternative fuels, power generation, water purification, clothing, and more...


Tracy Van Houten has always been infatuated with space. Over the course of two decades and two degrees, that love took Houten from a pre-engineering class in high school to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she works as an aerospace systems engineer on groundbreaking projects like the Mars Curiosity Rover.

Like many female engineers, though, the 32-year-old mother of two has encountered challenges one might expect in a field where nearly 90% of professionals are men. Colleagues have occasionally asked Van Houten — sometimes the only woman in the room — to take notes during meetings and plan work parties. At times she feels her ideas aren't acknowledged or heard.

Ken Notes: We have to fix this, we need the best and the brightest in all fields regardless of sex, race or other differences...


The Waterford FFA Chapter has concluded a very successful year. With high course enrollment and active member involvement, the agricultural program at Waterford High School remains strong and relevant in order to ensure as many Waterford High School students as possible are college- and career-ready.

Noteworthy achievements this year included the following:

Waterford FFA represented the state of Wisconsin at the National FFA Convention in the Environmental Sciences Career Development Event. Hannah Waldron, Caid Menzel, Deanna Heinichen, and Norbert Ostrowski competed in Louisville, Ky., in November, winning a bronze medal for their efforts....

Ken Notes: We do not give FFA nearly enough credit for the work they do and the education they provide our youth! This is just one example...


When Maurice "Mo" Cheeks – new director of the Wisconsin Innovation Network – was growing up in a suburb south of Chicago in the 1990s, he made a deal with his parents that went something like this:

If he did well in school, his folks would pay for a computer and a dedicated phone line for it. Not bad negotiating for a fifth grader...

..."It's about creating an eco-system of success in Wisconsin. We have plenty of the pieces here, so what we are trying to work on is to bring them all together."    ...more

...If elected to the state Senate, I will continue working to make our community a better place. In the Legislature, I have been a leader when it comes to worker training and investing in our infrastructure. Having an educated and well-trained workforce is what brings employers to Wisconsin. All too often, we hear that there are jobs available, but we are lacking qualified workers. I have worked to increase funding for our technical schools so they can reduce wait lists, and voted to create grant programs for hands-on training and to increase funding for apprenticeship programs...

Ken  Notes: WisconsinApprentice does not take political sides, but this election season we encourage you to take an active role in getting your candidates to make strong on the record statements regarding - apprenticeship, job training, school to work  transitions, education, and jobs. We can then hold their feet to the fire regarding what they said and make this a nonpartisan issue. Save the articles and links and I promise to remind them of their commitments --- weekly.

Wisconsin cracks the top ten when it comes to best school systems in the country.

WalletHub studied the quality of education in all 50 states and Wisconsin ranked seventh in school system quality and 20th in education output and safety.

That was good for a ranking of 9th overall.

New Jersey topped the list, while Minnesota was ranked one spot ahead of Wisconsin.

Washington D.C.'s school system came in last.

To see the full report click here....

Ken Notes: As a former school board member, I have to point out that Wisconsin does have some of the best educators in the world. I hope we can all begin to work together on continuing to approach the ranking of -- best schools in the nation. We clearly have the resources, talent, and infrastructure to do so...


As Sergio Rivera raised his right hand on Monday morning and took his oath of office, the 17-year-old made history for the Milwaukee Police Department.

Rivera, a Milwaukee native, became the first graduate of the department's Students Talking It Over with Police (STOP) program to be hired as a police aide, an apprenticeship program aimed at modeling future leaders for the department.

The STOP program was designed to improve youth-police interactions. Officers meet with student leaders in high schools across the city for an hour each week during the seven-week program.

"It was showing us a different point of view because they want us to build a relationship with the police," Rivera said. "Where I'm from a lot of people, like youth, don't get along with the police and view them negatively, but the program just helps us see them in a positive way."

Ken Notes: Sounds like a great program.


Taking on an apprentice can be worthwhile for both the individual and the company, but for many small businesses it is beyond their reach. But in a rare example of Goliath helping David, a business giant is building a bridge between small firms and apprentices.

For young people, apprenticeships are an effective way of making the leap between education and employment. For business too, they can be a way of molding young people into the sorts of employees they want.

They can also be cost-effective. Studies have shown that hiring an apprentice can bring a significant increase in productivity.

But for many small businesses, taking on an apprentice can appear fraught with difficulty. As well as the cost of hiring and training, there is the red tape involved, for example in showing that the apprenticeship program meets industry standards....


Ten graduates of a CNC (computer numerical control) machine operator program are trained and ready for work.

Thanks to the Work Today pilot project, adult students were able to take part a in a six-week “boot camp” to get training to become CNC operators. Upon passing their final tests they will be accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills with certificates for Material Management and Safety and CNC Lathe Operation....


The average debt burden for a graduate of a private law school totals approximately $125,000. Job prospects for law school graduates, while perhaps improving, remain weaker than they should be given the high cost of legal education. It is not surprising, then, that some aspiring lawyers are exploring apprenticeship, or learning the law by working under an experienced lawyer, as an alternative to going to law school.

Perhaps the best approach might be to combine apprenticeship with traditional legal education. This offers the possibility of achieving the best of both worlds, the practical training of apprenticeship and the intellectual rigor of law school, ultimately producing well-qualified lawyers at reduced cost.

Ken Notes: Interesting... When you think of it much of a doctors training is apprenticeship in nature -- and they are paid for it...

Six U.S. military veterans graduated Thursday from the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association's revamped Veterans in Piping job-training program.

The program includes one week at each of six United Association Local training centers, followed by 12 weeks of on-the-job training. Graduates are then eligible for a five-year apprenticeship in plumbing, steamfitter construction, steamfitter servicing or sprinkler fitting.

The Wisconsin program is a modification of a national program used in the state for several years....


Applications are currently open for the 2015 Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz.

The program, the longest-running university-based organic farmer-training program in the U.S., begins in April.

A range of scholarship support is available, including the Simply Organic annual scholarship and funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. GI Bill and AmeriCorps funding can also be used to cover tuition costs.

Ken Notes: UW's????


Trucking company Schneider is looking to immediately hire 150 company drivers in the Dallas and surrounding areas.

It said the need is due to growing needs across the company’s driving divisions, including: van truckload, dedicated, intermodal, tanker and regional operations.

The Wisconsin-based company is offering recently increased pay packages in most of its divisions that include annual earnings up to $76,000 for solo drivers and $71,000 for team drivers, along with up to a $7,500 sign-on bonus.

Tuition reimbursement of up to $6,000 is available while Schneider’s Military Apprenticeship program offers recent truck driving school graduates and military veterans and service members up to an additional $1236 per month....


Not everyone is ready, willing or able to go after a four-year degree after high school.

But what do you do? You join the working world. But even that route isn’t paved with gold. Most available jobs are at minimum wage. It’s hard to pay rent and raise a family on that.

So you have a high school diploma? Nice job, because without that, it’s tough to move forward.

In the United States, the high school graduation rate in 2012 was 80 percent. That same year, according to state Department of Public Instruction data, Wisconsin had a graduation rate of 88 percent. In Madison, that rate was 77.3 percent.

So on a national level, one out of five individuals will — because of lack of education — be stuck on the low rung of the earnings ladder with little chance to climb.

Even with a high school diploma, prospects can be iffy. But that diploma is a launching point that can open doors to opportunities unavailable without it.... Bob Van Enkenvoort

Ken Notes: and if you know this as a junior in High School you should be able to pursue the skills needed to get a blue collar job without having to wait until you graduate!!!


...In Germany and Switzerland, about 60 per cent of each school cohort opts for the apprenticeship route. Students cite the attraction of gaining skills while studying, which increases their employability after graduation....

Ken Notes: 60% need I say more!!!!!

E.K. Machine in Fall River recently recognized Christian Sphatt for completing the Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship program in Welding. As a Youth Apprentice, Sphatt divided his time between traditional high school classes and on-the-job work experience, completing more than 900 hours of paid training.

During his apprenticeship, Sphatt learned many valuable skills including how to read technical drawings, interpret welding symbols, fixture production, cutting and welding set ups, tacking work pieces, and welding on a variety of metals. In April, Sphatt tested his welding skills at the Skills USA competition and was recognized as the best High School Welder in the State of Wisconsin for the second year....


 At Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, a Health Simulation and Technology Center recently opened to help train medical assistants, health information technicians and more. Eight new robotic welding units are humming at the college’s Oshkosh campus.

The college runs seven automotive and truck training programs, an apprenticeship program for building trades, an agricultural training center, a culinary arts program and an array of offerings for advanced manufacturing careers.

So, what’s missing? Little more than recruiting enough interested students — and finding enough companies willing to invest in them in ways that will pay for everyone.

“The real issue in Wisconsin today is that we still don’t have enough people with the right skill sets,” said Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical College since 2008. “As long as there is a mismatch between skills and what employers need, we will have workforce shortages.”...


Gateway Technical College has received nearly $1.9 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funding, while Waukesha County Technical College has been allocated close to $1.7 million, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development announced today.

The two technical colleges were awarded portions of a grant initiative totaling more than $28 million that Gov. Scott Walker announced last week.

According to Walker’s announcement, Wisconsin is distributing more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System to train more than 4,900 workers.

That system encompasses 16 schools, including Gateway Technical College in Kenosha and Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee....   ...more

....The 2015 National Apprenticeship Week will take place Monday 9 March to Friday 13 March 2015, it has been announced.

National Apprenticeship Week will celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact that they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Co-ordinated by the Skills Funding Agency, the week will include hundreds of events and activities across England....

Ken Notes: May we please try this in Wisconsin. All media. All schools. All businesses. and All kids involved. Attention media, if you are interested we should just do this and bring the rest on board - is will sell adds - just a thought.

Western Technical College will receive $1,564,229 in workforce development funding to bolster its welding and medical assistant programs, according to a Tuesday announcement from Wisconsin officials.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the state’s top jobs official toured Western’s new South Side welding facility to mark the occasion, part of a two-week tour by Wisconsin lawmakers as they publicize more than $28 million in tech college grants.

“Technical colleges help us triage the skills gap issue we have in Wisconsin,” Kleefisch said. “Our skills gap issue is very, very pressing.”...


For Sherrie Tullsen-Chin, taking college-level courses and receiving on-the-job training never paid so well.

The 37-year-old San Jose woman is an apprentice electrician. She works all day with an experienced contractor to learn her craft and takes classroom courses at night, earning credit at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District in Alameda County.

The starting wage for an apprentice in the program? $19.66 an hour.

“I don’t know anywhere where honestly you can walk in off the street knowing nothing and someone is willing, just based on a test and an interview, to give you a job,” Tullsen-Chin said. “And you get paid well from the beginning.”

Tullsen-Chin is in the second year of her apprenticeship through the Alameda County Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Trade. The apprenticeship, based in San Leandro, is a five-year training program for would-be electricians. Tullsen-Chin will continue to receive pay raises every six months throughout the program, until she graduates in five years to a journeyman-level electrician, where she will command $49.15 per hour.

Ken Notes: I should do so well...


Old age is forcing Bob Siegel to hang up his block knife and spoon auger, two of the antique tools he uses to create the iconic Dutch wooden shoes.

Prior to this summer, Siegel has spent more than 40 years carving klompen (the wooden shoes) at festivals, museums, theme parks and dozens of other places all over the country.

"It's as they say, when you're 90 years old, you just don't have the energy," said Siegel, of Mequon. "I don't have that much endurance anymore."

At one time, Siegel was the only shoe carver left in the U.S., but before he unofficially retired, he made certain to find a protégé, Luke Traver, of Oostburg, to carry on the tradition....


In a quest to make job training count, the Obama administration is taking an interest in work-based apprenticeships. A St. Louis program is serving as a model for the administration.

The White House is highlighting about 40 programs across the country that are doing it right under the so-called Ready to Work Initiative. Only one such program in Missouri has made the list, the St. Louis Carpenter Union’s Mid-Apprenticeship Program.  

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews said the program, which teaches high school students construction skills as a step towards an industry apprenticeship, creates a pathway for young people to begin a career.


If you follow the news, you’ve heard about a shrinking workforce facing employers. As more baby boomers retire each year, employers need to find and develop individuals who will be able to support the growth of their businesses in the years ahead. These news stories remind me of a public service announcement from television in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s; the question “Do you know where your children are?” was asked during the 10:00 p.m. news as a reminder to parents that it was important for them to know where their children were and what they were doing. It seems the question employers dealing with an aging workforce are trying to answer is, “Do you know where your future employees are?”

I can tell you part of the answer is that they’re right here in the community, going to high school (taking classes that might surprise you), and trying to find the answer to their own question, “Do you know where your future is?”This past year, 309 juniors and seniors from 21 high schools within the Northcentral Technical College district were literally working to find the answer to that question for themselves by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program.

YA is a rigorous one- or two-year program that combines mentored, paid, on-the-job learning with academic and technical instruction related to a specific program area. That means students working at a local bank through a finance apprenticeship are studying business, math and financial management; students completing an apprenticeship in manufacturing are perhaps taking welding, machining and manufacturing classes; students working at a healthcare facility may have taken a nursing assistant course at NTC along with medical terminology, biology, and anatomy and physiology at their high school. These students are seeing a real world connection between their class rooms and the work place.

An exit survey, taken by high school seniors who finished their apprenticeships this year, provides some thought-provoking data. Of 173 graduating seniors, 151 have plans to attend some type of post-secondary school. While 26 of these students hope to focus only on school, the rest have plans to work while in school. And here’s where it gets really interesting: 85 percent of those 125 students are continuing to work for their YA employer and 71 percent will be majoring in a field related to their apprenticeship.

Based on these numbers, you can see that some employees of the future are here now, developing relationships with employers who are helping them find their future. If you would like to learn more about opportunities to hire a youth apprentice, contact the youth apprenticeship coordinator at your local high school or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau at schulz@ntc.edu

Ken Notes: Thank you Donna -- Well said...Donna Schulz is the regional coordinator for the Youth Apprenticeship Program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.


To celebrate 50 years of philanthropy in the Fox Cities, the Mielke Family Foundation has given $2.5 million to Lawrence University so students can earn elementary education certification, officials announced Monday.

Dr. John and Sally Mielke said the foundation has focused in recent years on birth-to-five and early childhood education. The gift to Lawrence expands on that vision, while honoring the foundation's work since its establishment in 1963....

Students will build on their knowledge of education through a year-long apprenticeship included in the education program expansion. The apprenticeship puts students alongside master teachers in the Appleton Area School District....

Ken Notes: Please thank the Mielke's for me, tell them Mayor Ken says they are one the huge reasons Wisconsin is such a great state...


A total of 24 teenagers have seized the chance to forge top engineering careers through a new apprenticeship scheme linking a Newcastle school with Rolls-Royce.

The trainees from Excelsior Academy’s sixth form college will begin working in the world-famous engine maker’s North East Training Centre in September with the prospect of bright careers with leading engineering firms lying ahead of them.

The four-year engineering apprentice scheme sees the teenagers learning skills such as welding, fabrication, machining, computer aided design and electrical wiring. This practical experience is combined with classroom work at Excelsior for the first 12 months.

After that, the apprentices head out to work with North East employers, completing their remaining three years of training under the watchful gaze of Rolls-Royce staff who will monitor and supervise their progress.

Rolls-Royce’s apprenticeship programme boasts an outstanding track record of placing graduates from its North East training centre with engineering companies across the region, equipping apprentices with skills that are in demand globally at a boom time for the engineering sector.

Ken Notes: ...and from the sound of this program they will be able to AFFORD a Rolls after it is over. We still do not get it on this side of the pond...


The insufficiency of our nation’s education and training system is clear. While policymakers and educators have often encouraged young Americans to obtain a bachelor’s degree, too many young people now believe that a four-year degree is the only way to achieve economic mobility. However, less than half of those who aim to earn a bachelor’s degree end up completing one. Those who do complete a four-year degree often do so only after taking out crushing levels of student debt. Worse yet, those who fail to earn a bachelor’s are too often left with the burden of student debt without the benefit of a degree. At the same time, business executives and economists alike are sounding the alarm that the United States is not producing sufficient numbers of skilled workers to meet employer demand. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, the United States will be short 5 million workers with the necessary technical certificates and credentials to succeed in high-growth, high-demand industries....   ...more

Joel Benson, Monona Grove High School alumnus and Madison College graduate, won a gold medal at the 50th SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo. 

Hundreds of students in high schools and two-year colleges across the country participated in the technical skills and leadership competition. Benson is one of nine Madison College students who won gold awards at the SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Conference, qualifying him to compete at the national level....

Ken Notes: THUMBS UP!

Since the mid-1950s, the percentage of employed workers who belong to a union has dropped from more than 28 percent to less than 12 percent. Experts have tied the nation’s growing wage inequality with this decline. To combat these trends, AFL-CIO national president Richard Trumka suggested in a speech last year that the union movement needs to change the way it communicates with workers, and the way it organizes.

“Many of our unions were created over 100 years ago when the economic and demographic landscape was very different,” he observed, “We can’t just defend our historic industrial and geographic bases when global forces far outside our power to control are eroding...

....How many times unions have been able to bring families out of public housing and into the middle class because we have apprenticeship programs, they learn how to do the work safely, and learn what it’s like to have good jobs.”....

Ken Notes: Too bad we can not create a bipartisan partnership with the unions to promote apprenticeship, training, and benefits....

Wigwam Mills, Inc. recently partnered with Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) to participate in the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program to get more graduating adults interested and involved in careers in manufacturing.

Youth Apprenticeships offer students in high school the opportunity to explore future careers while receiving school credit and pay for the work they are performing. The Youth Apprenticeship program is limited to high school juniors and seniors and covers a wide variety of job fields such as, Health, Finance, Hospitality, Culinary, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Manufacturing...


Wisconsin's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7% in June from May, and is hovering well below its peak at the worst point in the recession, when it was higher than 9% in 2010....

Signs of a tightening labor market in the manufacturing sector are evident at KHS USA Inc. in Waukesha, which manufactures packaging equipment. The Waukesha-based subsidiary of German-owned KHS said its production lines run full shifts throughout the year.

But KHS has difficulty filling openings for skilled labor, even though KHS has borrowed a tactic that's common in Germany and created an elaborate paid apprenticeship program meant to train potential hires, said Mike Brancato, president of KHS USA.

"Unfortunately, recruiting is challenging and these jobs are hard to fill," Brancato said. KHS partners with Milwaukee Area Technical College and Waukesha County Technical College for its apprentices, who are paid by KHS to learn the industrial skills.

Ken Notes: We need to offer Juniors and Seniors programs to move into these slots. After graduation it is often too late.


The White House recently announced a $600 million investment in professional apprenticeship programs. The administration hopes to strengthen ties between community colleges and private companies — and equip workers with the skills they need to secure good-paying jobs in growing industries.

This initiative could not come at a better time. Millions of Americans are unemployed. Yet in manufacturing alone, a half-million jobs are going unfilled because firms have been unable to find qualified workers.....

In Wisconsin,

my company, Green Bay-based KI Furniture, has brought in over 1,000 local students for plant tours and internships. Two of our peers — cheese-maker Sargento and snowblower and lawn tractor manufacturer Ariens — have done much the same.

There is a common perception that American manufacturing is in decline. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Instead, a shortage of qualified workers is holding American manufacturing back. Our nation's leaders must invest in closing that skills gap. If they do, an American industrial renaissance will follow.

Dick Resch is CEO of KI Furniture in Green Bay.

Ken Notes: We agree...


Don Gross, Blackhawk Technical College

Just two years ago, U.S. Navy veteran Don Gross had hit a very low point in his life through the loss of his job, home, car and marriage. Now, thanks to help from Blackhawk Technical College and the Rock Valley Community Programs, he is turning his life around.hat led Don to a 20 year career in industrial maintenance, working for various companies, including a steel foundry and a hospital.

His career was going well for him until his 2006 lay off from a printing company that was going bankrupt. After that, he did a short stint at a dairy equipment manufacturer until a 2007 layoff, and then was unable to find full-time employment.....

Don worked at several part-time jobs, but they could not sustain him. That’s when substance abuse became a problem, and he found himself homeless.....

Ken Notes: Great read and thanks to Blackhawk for a great program! Send us your success stories and we will share...


Mercury Marine's growing apprenticeship program gained an enthusiastic supporter on Monday.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson made a stop at the Fond du Lac-based manufacturer to learn about its valuable workforce partner in the program and to salute the company during its 75th anniversary year.

"Founded in Cedarburg, Mercury Marine's a great Wisconsin story and this global manufacturer now based in Fond du Lac is a good example of why the world looks to us for quality goods and services," Newson said.

"It takes dedicated and talented men and women with the right skills to achieve this level of success, and we are proud to have Mercury Marine as such a strong, longstanding partner in apprenticeship training. We are building a skilled workforce to move Wisconsin forward through proven programs like apprenticeship, as well as new initiatives, such as the governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program."....


To create new opportunities for more hard-working Americans, the President and his team are committed to advancing job-driven training initiatives that help American workers acquire the skills they need to succeed in good jobs that are available now. Expanding quality apprenticeship is a key strategy to make education and training programs more job-driven.

As part of that effort, today, we hosted the first-ever White House Summit on American Apprenticeship to gather the best ideas and to catalyze action to dramatically increase apprenticeship in America. More than 60 attendees presented their ideas — including leading employers, big and small, like IBM, Bank of America, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Oberg Industries; labor unions like the IBEW and SEIU; training providers like Ivy Tech and Lone Star Community Colleges; and local workforce leaders from states as diverse as Pennsylvania and South Carolina...


Fathers working together with their sons on Belman Homes’ construction sites are taking the “Take Your Kid to Work” theme seriously. Due to a shortage in manual labor nationwide, the parent and adult child pairing has become a necessity for some Milwaukee-area skilled trades laborers.

Easing the burden
In an attempt to manage the labor shortage burden, workers are inviting their adult children to work alongside them. Skilled trades are often passed down from generation to generation, with the younger set being educated on the job. A “learn and earn” proposition, the addition of apprentice offspring provides “a lot of productivity when we need it,” said Belman, owner of Belman Homes Inc. and recently named Wisconsin Builders Association Rising Star.

According to a recent National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, June 2012 – March 2013 builders reported at least some shortage increase in 12 labor categories, including plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Among the reasons are a smaller demographic pool with Generation X and a more technologically focused population of Generation Y (whose population is comparable to baby boomers), said a Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) spokesperson. “Our challenge will be to compete for this population to choose our industry,” he said.....


Heard about the tuition freeze next year at Minnesota public colleges and universities? If you haven’t, you will. Count on Gov. Mark Dayton and every reelection-seeking DFLer — and a few Republicans too — to brag about that feature of the 2014-15 state budget.

Campaign attention to higher education is way overdue. But I can’t muster a cheer for state politicians who think it’s their business to set tuition and run colleges. Those are jobs better left to governing boards.

It’s nice to hear from a politician who thinks the state ought to do something to remedy all of those ills, not just clamp down on tuition. That’s why I welcomed a visit from state Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, chair of the Senate’s higher education funding committee and the godmother of the new PIPELINE Project....

PIPELINE is an acronym for “Private Investment, Public Education Labor Industry Experience.” That’s the initiative’s long-winded name because an otherwise fitting label — apprenticeships — was deemed too much associated with long-established beginners’ programs in the construction trades.

With no disrespect to those fine occupations, PIPELINE isn’t about carpentry or plumbing. It’s about a new way for students to get a college degree with little or no debt and an assurance of a good job thereafter, and for employers to get and keep the workers they need....


Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--Top-of-the-line training is the single biggest reason that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and its management allies in the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) consistently provide excellent work, keeping customers returning year after year.

Maintaining the high quality of this training requires the right equipment for students, and through a special Platinum Sponsorship program, manufacturers get the opportunity to have students from coast to coast be exposed to their equipment early on in their educational development. That only makes the soon-to-be journeymen electricians' or technicians' apprenticeship that much more valuable on the job to the people who matter most: owners.

Schneider Electric is one of NECA and the IBEW's Platinum Sponsors taking advantage of this unique industry alliance.

The NECA/IBEW training arm, the NJATC, constantly looks at ways to improve its curriculum -- this is just another way they're evolving to meet the market...    ...more

WisconsinApprenticeship is stimulating the conversation on Apprenticeship and training in the State. Articles we find are being reprtinted, Tweeted, Facebooked, and LinkedIn, hundreds of times. Legislators are reviewing programs from the state and elsewhere. Programs in one community are being copied by others. Businesses are asking us for more information on apprenticeships in the state. We direct these requests to you our readers.

We need your help. If you have a "story to tell" let us know! If you need help promoting an event send it our way. If you want to write about or express an opinion on Apprenticeship or training email us. If you are a resource for Apprenticeship send us the link and we will share it. Also encourage  businesses in you communities to subscribe or send is their email address and we will see that they get added to our list.

We are also seeking sponsors for Wisconsin Apprentice, it is a low cost way of placing your company or program in front of educators, legislators, and leaders not to mention 500 press outlets across the state.

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Please include WisconsinApprentice Request in the subject line...

As unions come under siege, emerging labor groups are testing new ways to rebuild workers’ bargaining power.

Hardly a day goes by when American unions are not attacked from some quarter: Last week, the Supreme Court weakens unions representing home care workers, one of the lowest paid and fastest growing occupations. This follows another ruling struck earlier last month in which a California judge threw out teacher tenure, due process and seniority rules under the dubious theory they are the cause of persistent inequality in education outcomes. And in 2011, Wisconsin’s governor decimated public sector unions by taking away state and local government employee rights to collective bargaining, reversing a policy in place since 1959...

Unions in the utility industry, health care and manufacturing industries are using knowledge and skills as the key source of worker power by expanding apprenticeship training, creating partnership with community colleges, vocational schools, and employers to fill the “middle skills” gaps that exist today or will grow as skilled baby boomers retire....

Unions at Kaiser Permanente, Harley Davidson, Southwest Airlines, ABC School District in Los Angeles and others are building and sustaining partnerships with employers to improve performance, quality and working conditions. These, and partnerships like them, have demonstrated they are good for employers, workers, customers and communities....

Ken Notes: I like the idea of a NEW union that works with the public sector to create better employees, more partnerships, and better jobs. We need to shift our focus from jobs to skill-sets and ways to create the next generation of labor. I have suggested before that there is a huge difference  between a hand out and a hand up. Apprenticeship is clearly a hand up.


Dan Neff’s storefront, Lake Superior Art Glass, is located on Superior Street in Duluth. Dan himself is a thirdgeneration Iron Ranger who was raised to see the value in not only hard work, but good work. “Working for my grandfather, Larry LaPatka, he always preached, ‘Do it right or don’t do it at all,’” Dan explained. “My entire business is built off of this motto and I instill this in my staff.”

On May 31st, Lake Superior Art Glass celebrated two years in business. Naf Glass – Dan’s personal line of art glass – is now eight years old. (Naf is the original Swiss spelling of Neff.) His work is on display at the storefront, which is also where he works, teaches classes and displays the work of 60 other glass artists from around the region and across the country. Lake Superior Art Glass does custom artwork, gives live demonstrations and rents studio space to other glass artists. Gallery items include jewelry, vases, bowls, paperweights, sculptures, wine goblets and more.

Dan started blowing glass in 2003. Since then he has completed a 3-year glassblowing apprenticeship, done self-education of glassblowing through practice, videos and tutorials, and has taken classes from worldrenown glass artists.

Ken Notes: Dan is also sharing his "space" with others. We need to encourage this type of growth in all fields and in all walks of life. It is difficult for a traditional educational institution to teach some skills, but they need to be in a position to round out the education of those learning from the masters.


Project: New multi-lab center at Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center.

Owner: Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center.

Location: 3924 Volunteer Dr.

Size: 3,400 square feet.

Scope: The new building will feature lab and work space where apprentices can practice welding, rigging and working on overhead cranes. There also will be craft certification space. The center has a five-year, federally-registered apprenticeship program, where electricians come to learn the trade and earn certification. There are 14 instructors and 320 students, who attend classes at night and work with a certified electrician during the day.


UK youngsters think that degree-level apprenticeships are better for future careers prospects than a traditional university diploma, according to pollster Ipsos MORI.

The study, which was conducted to coincide with the Sutton Trust/Pearson summit on apprenticeships and vocational education, found that only two in ten (21%) of respondents said that a traditional degree would be better than a degree-level apprenticeship - opposed to 34% who supported the latter option.

Ken Notes: This is interesting and clearly reflects on the UK's support of the programs. We need to create a far more comprehensive system and then promote the value to our youth. We also will need to change the mindset of our high school educators.


Not only are Democratic candidates for office urging a minimum wage hike in the hopes of connecting with low-income voters, but progressive groups are trying to place advisory referendums on the issue on ballots around the state. The goal is to both send a message in favor of raising pay for lower workers and to get low-income voters, who typically vote at much lower rates during non-presidential election years, to the polls.

The strategy, which Democrats have championed in past years in other states, is gaining Wisconsin some recognition in the Huffington Post.

Ken Notes: We really need to change the discussion here from minimum wage to a promise of skilled jobs that pay a living wage. Raising the minimum wage does not lift the economy or the opportunities afforded our youth. Providing a clear path to a career dose. Also this should not be a partisan issue it should be an everyone issue. Please join the discussion and make your voices herd.


More than 500 young people from across the borough packed Rochdale Town Hallfor the annual summer apprenticeship open evening.

The ‘Find your Future’ event allowed anyone aged 16-24 to explore the hundreds of apprenticeship vacancies available in and around the borough, and even gave them the opportunity apply for jobs on the night.

Visitors were able to talk to training providers and employers offering a vast range of careers from robotics, logistics and mechanical engineering to hair dressing and retail. Demonstrations on the night included the chance for budding drivers to handle a heavy goods vehicle through a virtual reality simulator.    ...more

Ahead of last weekend’s British Grand Prix, the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team got a helping hand from four of the German manufactures Apprentice of the Year winners.

Ben Allcorn and Ashley Donnithorne – Apprentice of the Year winners from the Passenger Car division of Mercedes, and Lan Dempsey and Dominic Drury, from the Commercial Car division, all spent a week with the team at Brackley, with Allcorn and Donnithorne shadowing the Research and Development, Race Support, and Build teams, learning about the W05 HYBRID’s gearbox assembly and hydraulics, whilst Dempsey and Drury spent time with the Inspection team and in the Wind Tunnel.

Angela Shepherd, Head of Training at Mercedes-Benz UK, commented: “We’re delighted our apprentices had the opportunity to experience a week at Brackley – a fitting reward for their hard work and dedication on the Apprenticeship Programme.”

Ken Notes: Way Cool!


Students and businesses will tackle local economic problems this year on a larger level thanks to a $283,500 grant awarded to Marathon County's apprentice program.

The program prepares high school youths to fill the ever-increasing job vacancies left by retiring baby boomers, through education and hands-on experience. It will receive the second-largest amount of money awarded to the list of projects this year, to partner 315 youth apprentices with local businesses in their search for workforce experience.


In response to growing concerns among employers and economists that the United States faces a looming shortage of skilled workers, policymakers across the country are taking a new look at an old idea. Apprenticeship—the time-tested worker-training model that combines on-the-job training with classroom-based instruction—is gaining traction as a possible solution to America’s workforce training and development challenges. From Iowa to South Carolina to Vermont, state governments are making important new investments in this critical training program.

As detailed in the recent Center for American Progress report, “Training for Success: A Policy to Expand Apprenticeships in the United States,” apprenticeships help businesses meet their demand for skilled workers while offering workers higher wages and better employment outcomes. Although young people around the world enter the labor market through apprenticeships, the training model is relatively underused in the United States.

Ken Notes: I wonder if he reads Wisconsin Apprentice, sure sounds like it!

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development this week announced the release of $2.2 million in youth apprenticeship grants for the 2014-15 school year. Dane County received the largest grant, at $341,276, for programs in south-central Wisconsin.

Founded in 1991, the program trains hundreds of high school students each year for jobs in fields with worker shortages. The program covers 40 occupations and includes a blend of on-the-job training and technical-college-level instruction at the participants’ high schools. Students who finish the two-year program get a certificate and graduate with the skills needed for an entry-level position in their field. They also may receive technical college credits.

Ken Notes: We are sort of repeating the same story here from a variety of sources... but this is a big deal! Please forward at leas one of the articles to every business in the state, we have created a ground swell of interest now we need the tidal wave!!!!


A big announcement was made Wednesday at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. Millions of dollars will be given to youth apprenticeship programs throughout the state.

This year, more than $2 million will be given out. The amount will be distributed to 32 different projects.

This in an increase of $400,000 from last year. Northcentral Technical College has the biggest apprenticeship program in the state.

"This is a win-win for employers because they have the opportunity to do on boarding and provides valuable work experience for the young people,"said Reggie Newson, the secretary of the department of workforce development.

NTC will get more than 2,000 of that money. That's the second highest amount going to a group in the state.   ...more

A national study's documentation of a declining rate of recidivism in Wisconsin's prison population is being received cautiously by some people involved with helping inmates re-enter communities.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center found Wisconsin's 2007 recidivism rate of 56.2% dipped to 51.5% in 2010.

The study's authors cite several factors in the drop, among them: Wisconsin's workforce development programs for prison inmates in the last months of their sentences and in the months after their release; more jail stays replacing revocations to prison as response to probation violations; and expanded alcohol and other drug abuse treatment programs.

Ken Notes: Apprenticeship and job training played a huge role in this success. Now we should use the programs to keep our youth out of jail in the FIRST PLACE... DUH!

But with high youth unemployment and declining labor-force participation, young people need internships for work experience. Are we doing young people favors by protecting them from so-called exploitation as unpaid internships and depriving them of professional experience?

Over the past four years, the Labor Department has been making it harder for young people to get unpaid internships at for-profit private-sector institutions. New regulations were issued in 2010 , and companies such as Fox Searchlight have been sued for violations.

Paying Sammy minimum wage for two months would cost the record company $2,735, including workers’ compensation and Social Security payroll taxes. Many companies cannot afford to pay for what is in essence a training program.

Ken Notes: We should split the difference here and have companies offer partial tuition reimbursement (tax deductible) for internship opportunities - win win...


At Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, a Health Simulation and Technology Center recently opened to help train medical assistants, health information technicians and more. Eight new robotic welding units are humming at the college’s Oshkosh campus. The college runs seven automotive and truck training programs, an apprenticeship program for building trades, an agricultural training center, a culinary arts program and an array of offerings for advanced manufacturing careers.

So, what’s missing? Little more than recruiting enough interested students – and finding enough companies willing to invest in them in ways that will pay for everyone.

“The real issue in Wisconsin today is that we still don’t have enough people with the right skill sets,” said Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical College since 2008. “As long as there is a mismatch between skills and what employers need, we will have workforce shortages.”


A $4 million anonymous gift has kickstarted an endowment supporting UC Santa Cruz's organic farming training program.

Based at UCSC's 33-acre farm and garden, the ecological horticulture apprenticeship is operated by the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), which has a $1.6 million annual budget.

Ken Notes: Ag is a perfect option for Wisconsin...


The Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania has come up with a promising way to attract more recruits to the industry. They’ve set up a “virtual apprenticeship” video game in which young people can find out if road building construction is right for them.

According to this article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette visitors to the Future Road Builders website can fill out a questionnaire to see how well their aptitudes and temperament match what’s needed in the construction industry. Then they can click through a mock highway project and see all the different stages it goes through to completion.

Ken Notes: read this it is cool...


Human Capital Development Corp. Inc. continues its mission to provide individuals the opportunity to achieve personal goals of employment and independence at a family sustaining wage in the building and construction skilled trades through a six-week preparatory training. In addition, HCDC now offers training to employers for incumbent workers in OSHA 30 and Lead-Safe Renovator, made possible through a professional development grant from SC Johnson....


Fighting for Working Families; Strengthening Our Economy

Building on actions he already has taken to help create real, lasting economic security for working families, today the President will announce a set of concrete steps that will create more opportunities for hardworking families to get ahead. Together with the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), the White House is hosting the Summit on Working Families to set an agenda for a 21st century workplace. This fact sheet lays out these new announcements, along with a series of reports the White House Council of Economic Advisers has released ahead of today’s Summit....the President will build on this progress by signing a Presidential Memorandum to help families better balance work and spending time at home, and announcing a package of both public and private sector efforts that will take a strong stand to protect pregnant working women, increase investments for research to understand the economic benefits of paid leave, expand apprenticeships for women, target resources to help more women enter higher-paying STEM and other fields, and make child care more affordable for working families...

...Administration is doing its part to make sure that promise is kept by:...Launching a New Public-Private Partnership to Recruit and Train Women for STEM Fields and Apprenticeships. Jobs for the Future and Wider Opportunities for Women are committing to adapt and expand their Pink to Green Tool-Kit from its current focus on recruiting and retaining women in training programs for green sector jobs to a broader focus on training in STEM careers that hold the promise of new and high-potential career paths for women. In particular, JFF and WOW will work with the Administration to promote the toolkit to potential applicants for the $100M American Apprenticeship Grants to assist in increasing the number of women and other underrepresented groups in apprenticeships. Releasing a Resource Guide on Women and Minorities in Apprenticeships. DOL is releasing a resource guide on women and minorities in apprenticeships, including tools to help employers and community-based organizations increase the representation of women and minorities in apprenticeships, as well as improve performance and completion rates....

Ken Notes: We are on the radar screen!


For manufacturers, a surefire method of securing opportunities for scaling up business is becoming a preferred supplier to a larger manufacturing organization. Here are the steps needed to ensure a smooth approach that sets the table for high growth....

...1) Pricing
“Your customer is a buyer first and a partner second...

...2) Partnership  High-growth businesses realize that they must be more than just component or product providers to their customers; they must position themselves as valuable partners. ...

...3) Pipeline  Small businesses and entrepreneurial-style companies must constantly look to the future, knowing what is needed to grow the business, keep up with customers’ needs, and ward off the competition....

...Having a keen understanding of what his customers’ needs will be and what that will require of his workforce, Clark went out into his community to create internship and apprenticeship programs for local students....

...Waukesha Metal Products is an example of how a company can position itself not only to customers but also in the community to attract strong team members as it  grows. Clark knew that getting students involved in the manufacturing industry early in their lives could positively impact the community while growing a talented workforce that his company needs for its future. It is a win-win strategy....

Ken Notes: Nice to hear that apprenticeship is a key part of the success formula!


As the economy picks up a little speed and the demand for his product increases, Craig Freedman said he can't find qualified candidates who are fluent in metallurgy, can operate his computer-run machines and read blueprints.

"The skill shortage is getting more and more acute every day," said the president of Freedman Seating Co., a manufacturer of vehicle seats who is partnering with a local nonprofit to develop an in-house apprenticeship program to train workers....


Reducing inequality and expanding opportunity are central challenges increasingly acknowledged by leaders across the political spectrum. Policymakers generally agree that one key solution is to prepare young people and adults with the skills to earn a good income. Unlike other advanced countries, however, reform proposals in the United States have typically included little or nothing about apprenticeship—a highly cost-effective mechanism for developing workplace skills and for reducing youth unemployment. However, interest in apprenticeship models is building in the United States, partly because of the recent successes of Britain and South Carolina in stimulating major expansions of apprenticeship training. A robust apprenticeship system is especially attractive because of its potential to reduce youth unemployment, improve the transition from school to career, upgrade skills, raise wages of young adults, strengthen a young worker’s identity, increase U.S. productivity, achieve positive returns for employers and workers, and use limited federal resources more effectively...

Ken Notes: Share this one...

The Brookings Institution commissioned the report -- FDI in U.S. Metro Areas-- as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of Washington, D.C.-based Brookings and New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co...

.According to Brookings, the top priority for a global employer is a skilled workforce. The study suggests adopting the German apprenticeship model, whereby German companies sponsor vocational training programs and hire the graduates, insuring a steady stream of skilled workers.   ...more

A Hailsham teenager has cause for double celebrations after being recruited by a leading motor dealership and discovering that she has the honour of being a national training provider’s 1000th apprentice...   ...more

More evidence is emerging in support of the growing skills mismatch in the United States (discussed earlier.) Job vacancy rates are rising much faster than hiring rates and the NFIB survey shows smaller firms are having a tough time filling some openings. People forget that corporate needs for skilled labor have changed materially since the start of the Great Recession. The demand for employees with technical and specialized skills has increased in the US as it did in other industrialized nations. Yet over the past couple of decades many US firms have systematically gutted training and apprenticeship programs and shifted a great deal of high tech production abroad. Companies were rewarded with higher share valuations for “offshoring” and cutting investment in training, whether or not it made sense....

Ken Notes: We HAVE to fix this!!

For years, the Urban Institute’s Robert Lerman has been bugging us about apprenticeships. Just last year, amid the push for a “common core” curriculum, he asked on this page, “Are college and career skills really the same?”

It’s not that Lerman, an economist at American University, is against going to college. For Lerman, it’s about reducing youth unemployment and increasing economic mobility. Holding everyone to the same expectation of going to college, Lerman argues, reduces equality. “Over 20 percent youth joblessness, and still no apprenticeships?” he lamented last year.

Plenty of youth, Lerman argues, don’t want to be on the college track and won’t finish if they go; if they enjoy producing things, they’d be better served learning a trade, where they’ll have a shot at economic mobility and pride in their work....

Ken Notes: We agree!


West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Barbara Veazey was one of four community college presidents to join Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and a 13-member panel June 4 in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues relevant to preparing a skilled workforce and providing the unemployed with the skills needed for new jobs in the future.

The half-day forum, hosted by Third Way, a Washington, D.C. based public policy think tank, featured a detailed presentation by Vice President Biden and a moderated panel by Secretary Perez that focused on the future of America’s workforce and being prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.

Following the Vice President’s remarks, Secretary Perez joined Third Way and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Byron Auguste for a roundtable with Veazey and the other panelists to discuss their innovative ideas and best practices to match their local workforce to high-quality jobs.

...panel participants were Ashwin Bharath Pushpanayagam, COO, Multivision, Inc.; Debra Shephard, President, Lake Area Technical Institute; Doris Gonzalez, Director, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs in the America, IBM Corporation; Earl Buford, President and CEO, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP; Edward Gordon, Founder and Owner, Imperial Consulting Corporation; Karen Sitnick, Director, Workforce Investment Board of Baltimore City; Maureen Conway, Executive Director, Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute; Michael Callanan, Executive Director, National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry; Patrick Cushing, CEO and Co-Founder, WorkHands; Rufus Glasper, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges; Shaila Ittycheria, Co-Founder, Enstitute; Steve VanAusdle, President, Walla Walla Community College; and William Hite, General President, The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.

Ken Notes: Wisconsin Media did not pick this up! Yet we were well represented.


The adage about “walking a mile in someone’s shoes” has taken on new application as one of the individuals who puts high schoolers to work in local businesses is herself spending time in one of those jobs.

Heather Edwards, the youth apprenticeship coordinator at Colquitt County High School, has been involved in the cooperative project of the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor's Office of Workforce Development.

The title of this project is "Teachers in Industry," according to a press release Edwards forwarded. The idea behind the project is for teachers to have on-site experience at locations where students might be placed for work-based learning experiences.  Colquitt County High School offers a Work-Based Learning program to all students who meet the...

Ken Notes: Not a bad idea here, especially since all our teachers come from academia and few have other management or work experience. Some V Tech excepted. I have always thought that an exchange sabbatical where teachers and business leaders change roles for even a week or two would be a good idea.

Winners of this year's Gloucestershire Apprenticeship Awards 2014 have been announced with more than 270 gathering at Hatherley Manor near Gloucester to hear the results.

Now in their third year the awards, organised by Gloucestershire Media - publishers of the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Stroud Life and their associated websites - proved more popular than ever.

The joint title sponsors this year were Gloucestershire College and the Warranty Group.

Kevan Blackadder, editor of the Gloucestershire Echo, said: “We were the first regional newspaper group in the country to start beating the drum for recruiting apprentices and developing apprenticeships. In Gloucestershire, this has been a huge success.”

Ken Notes: WisconsinApprentice is beating the drums for more programs in the state.


Fives Cincinnati is producing the next generation of manufacturing technology workforce with a modern approach to a time-tested apprenticeship program.

The average manufacturing worker’s age was 50, and half of the workforce was 10 to 15 years away from retirement, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2012. How will we support high-tech manufacturing as the baby boomers leave the workforce?

Most manufacturers in the United States are feeling the impact of the talent shortage, so this is a question many of us in human resources face. The method that is working well for Fives Machining Systems Inc. is a new twist on a tried-and-true approach to passing experience and knowledge to the next generation – the apprenticeship. Apprenticeships have been part of our company since its beginnings as Cincinnati Milacron in the late 1800s, and the most recent iteration of the program was established in 2007, when the company was still MAG....

Ken Notes: so the next rocket scientist will come from an apprenticeship porgram...


Remarks by the President in Q&A with David Karp, CEO of Tumblr

...So having some basic training in math, some familiarity with computers, some familiarity with programming and code — all that is a huge advantage if you are trying to get a job on an assembly line.  Now, if that’s true for assembly line work, that’s certainly going to be true for any other trade that you’re interested in.

We do have to do a better job of giving young people who are interested an effective vocational education.  And there are tons of opportunities out there for people — here’s an interesting statistic:  The average trade person in Wisconsin — and what I mean by that is an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a machine tool worker — the average age in Wisconsin is 59 years old.  Now, these jobs typically pay 25, 30 bucks an hour, potentially, with benefits.  You can make a really good living doing that, and there are a lot of folks who love doing it.  It’s really interesting work and highly skilled work.


Systemagic, which has an office in Trowbridge,  has been chosen as a finalist in the Micro Employer of the Year category of the Bristol & Bath Apprenticeship awards.

The successful company provides IT support for businesses across the south west and prides itself on encouraging young people to come into the sector.  It aims to have at least one apprentice on its team at any time.

Managing director James Eades said: “We’re proud of being instrumental in helping anyone start their career with us. It’s an honour to play a part in building someone’s passion in their chosen path.”

The Bristol and Bath Apprenticeships Awards recognise businesses that help drive apprenticeship schemes as well as those apprentices. This year the awards are an amalgamation of the previously separate Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle Apprenticeship Awards...

Ken Notes: Again WisconsinApprentice would be pleased to promote apprenticeship awards in the state. We are currently read by 500+ state press outlets. This award put Systemagic in most British News outlets, Not bad press.

Nova Scotia is recruiting a chief executive officer (CEO) to direct the work of its new apprenticeship agency. The CEO will work directly with industry, helping to create more opportunities for apprentices and give better access to training.

Ken Notes: Maybe Nova Scotia has the answer an apprenticeship agency.   ...more

At BMW’s only American plant, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the German car company has implemented a very German tradition — the apprenticeship — in what they call their Scholars Program. (Watch more about their program in the Making Sen$e segment below). BMW mechanical engineer Moritz Kippenberger is himself a transplant from Germany, having arrived in Spartanburg in 2012. Paul Solman speaks with Kippenberger about the differences between American and German workplace culture, and in particular, what each values....

BMW calls their American apprentices “scholars.” Why don’t you call it an apprenticeship program?

I think we want to make clear that this is not the identical thing that we have in Germany. We don’t want to just copy something that has been successful in Germany. We want it to be unique and adapt it to the environment. And that’s why I think Werner Eikenbusch, [BMW’s head of workforce development for the Americas], came up with the name. I think he also mentioned to me at one time that there was some misperception with apprenticeship being very traditional, and we wanted it to be more modern and to have a tech feeling to it because it does deal with modern technology....

Ken Notes: READ THIS!


Last week, 74 local high school students and youth apprentices graduated from the GPS Education Partners program, the largest graduating class of manufacturing apprentices in Wisconsin.

Butler-based GPS pairs schools and manufacturing businesses to teach non-traditional high school learners in interactive manufacturing environments. Manufacturers construct education centers for the program at their facilities.

A graduation ceremony for the students was held at Carroll University. They earned a high school diploma and apprenticeship and MSSC certifications, while getting two years of work experience.

“Navigating our bright and talented students and apprentices to this crowning moment of graduation is the highlight of the year,” says Stephanie Borowski, president of GPS Education Partners. “The truly exciting part is that graduation with GPS is not an endpoint, it’s a beginning as they go on to continued education and meaningful careers.”

Ken Notes: Congrats!

NML is in the midst of dismantling one of its main buildings in downtown Milwaukee – and replacing it with a skyscraper. Within months, nearly 150 city residents could find themselves working on the project.

Workers are nearly finished demolishing the old, brown NML building. Later this year, they’ll begin constructing the new tower. That’ll take until 2017.

“It’s going to be a major construction project and our goal as a partner in that project is to provide opportunities for our residents to be involved.”...

Buford says his agency will do most of the worker training at its headquarters, but other partners are coming on board.

“For instance, a lot of building and trade apprenticeship programs are willing to also do training at their sites,” Buford says.


Manufacturers across the United States are targeting schools and colleges to let young people know there is more to manufacturing than pulling levers on an assembly line.

"People still have the idea that manufacturing is a dirty dungeon place," said Andy Bushmaker, of KI Furniture, a maker of school desks and cafeteria tables in Green Bay, Wis.

The goal, Bushmaker said, is to get people to see manufacturing jobs as the high-tech, high-skilled and high-paying careers they can be in the second decade of the 21st century...


Dustin Reid may not have a four-year college degree, but he’s hoping to have a job for life. The 29-year-old former Marine worked in a scrapyard for two years, and then a poultry plant. At BMW’s only U.S. plant, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, he’s been part of the Scholars Program, an apprenticeship program that was the subject of Wednesday’s Making Sen$e segment, which you can watch below. He likes it so much, he’s wooed his friends from the poultry plant to BMW, too. In this extended conversation with Paul Solman, he explains why manufacturing is growing in the United States, and why the American dream is about a lot more than attaining a college degree.

Ken Notes: Share this with your students!

Late spring is the season for high school and college graduations. It is a time of transition for millions of young people and a time of celebration and hope and promise. Yet the lingering effects of the Great Recession, notably the difficult jobs environment in an economy increasingly beset by global competition, is giving pause to the ambitions of young people. This persistent dilemma ought to engender serious thinking about whether our society and culture are serving students well by encouraging and steering all of them to four year college education tracks.

One disturbing data point, perhaps symbolized by the college-educated baristas still living at home, is that only about 27 percent of new jobs forecast by the Labor Department to be generated in the next ten years will require a college degree. A related point, although experts disagree on the exact number, is that hundreds of thousands of good "mid-level" jobs, well-paying and with good benefits, go unfilled due to lack of qualified applicants. The problem is particularly acute for manufacturing, although construction, transportation, health care, information technology, and other sectors' experience the same problem to various degree...

Ken Notes: Let me answer as well - YES!!!!!

Employers complain about the skills gap they see in prospective employees and apprenticeship programs could prepare future employees to fill open jobs. Nevertheless, enrollment in programs that combined on-the- job hands-on work with classroom training has fallen by 40% in the U.S. between 2003 and 2013. Why the resistance? Unfortunately for our industry, two-thirds of apprenticeship positions are in the construction industry, which turns young people off. And many of those programs are run by unions, which turns employers off.

Readers of CONTRACTOR will find this complaint familiar from this story, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal — employers are afraid that if they train their people, they'll quit and go to work for somebody else. The article also touches on issue of young people, their parents and guidance counselors thinking that the only way to get a good job it to go to college.

Wall Street Journal reporter Lauren Weber wrote:

College degrees and internships don't produce the same quality of worker as intensive, on-the-job apprenticeships...

Ken Notes: We need to rethink the process and start at age 16 instead of after high school. We are allowing kids to fall through the cracks and then complain about the burden they place on society. We still don't get it and still believe we know better.

The BMW factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is luring workers with a program that offers part-time work, an all-expenses paid associates degree and near guarantee of a job and future education down the road. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on how such apprenticeships, modeled after European programs, may boost employment and help tailor curricula to employers’ needs.

Ken Notes: Great Video ath the link!

This week, more than 1,000 Scottish companies will participate in Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014, highlighting the success of the country’s recent efforts to dramatically increase apprenticeships. As U.S. policymakers set out to double the number of apprenticeships in America over the next five years, Scotland serves as an example of a country that has done just that.

As detailed in a recent Center for American Progress report, “Training for Success: A Policy to Expand Apprenticeships in the United States,” apprenticeships help businesses meet the demand for skilled workers while offering workers higher wages and better employment outcomes. In particular, apprenticeships can benefit Millennials, who face disproportionately high unemployment rates, low-wage jobs, rising college costs, and spiraling student debt....

Ken Notes: We need to learn from others as we create policy for ourselves!


As the construction industry continues to pick up, company leaders at Staab Construction in Marshfield are hopeful workforce training programs will prepare workers for job openings in the coming months.

Staab Construction is part of a group of 10 Wisconsin companies that received a $75,000 Fast Forward grant from the state Department of Workforce Development to train construction workers.

“Construction is really going to take a hit with the employee base because of retirements and people who left construction due to the downturn of the economy,” said Dan Neve, operations manager for Staab Construction. “It’s been difficult to find employees to work in our industry that are trained.”...

Ken Notes: This might be a good article to share with your local construction trade reps...


The job of installing and repairing power lines is the seventh deadliest job in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting for 23 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012.

That compares with three deaths per 100,000 workers for all occupations.

The hazards of the job are no deterrent to Kevin Mikes, 38, a line mechanic from the Town of Troy who has worked for We Energies for the past 13 years....

Compensation: The average annual salary for electrical power line installers and repairers in Wisconsin was $68,960 in 2012, according to the state Department of Workforce Development. Entry-level line installers made $57,340 a year, while experienced line installers earned $74,760 a year.

To get in: Educational requirements are a high school diploma or the equivalent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To become proficient, most line installers and repairers require technical instruction and long-term on-the-job training. Apprenticeships are common.

Outlook: Employment of line installers and repairers is projected to grow 13% from 2010 to 2020, according to the Department of Workforce Development. Nationally, employment is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations, at 7% from 2012 to 2022, according to the bureau.

Ken Notes: you may want to share this with your students... 57,300 out of the program with jobs waiting!


Like many University of Wisconsin-Madison students, Jordan Ebert found himself in Dallas this March, cheering on the Badgers in their Final Four matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats, adding to a list of memorable moments in his young undergraduate career....

...Randy Ebert, Jordan’s dad, currently oversees Ebert Enterprises, a dairy operation of nearly 3,000 cows in Algoma. But, as Randy once commented in the publication Agri-View, “It’s hard to involve kids in the farm when it gets to this size.” Jordan Ebert headed to Madison in part to get more hands-on dairy apprenticeship.

Ken Notes: Fun read and a very lucky student...


Greenfield Industries, a subsidiary of TDC Cutting Tools Co., has established two registered apprenticeship programs for CNC operators and maintenance technicians.

Apprenticeship is a method of employee development that combines supervised on-the-job learning and job-related education.

“Registering” a program with the U.S. Department of Labor is a way for an employer to show commitment to developing a high-quality work force that meets nationally recognized training standards. Registered apprenticeship programs also enable employees to receive incremental wage increases as they demonstrate new competencies throughout the training program.

Greenfield’s apprenticeship programs will use Tri-County Technical College’s CNC operator and mechatronics programs as the primary education source....

Ken Notes: You may want to touch base with your local companies that use CNC machines. The technology is changing so fast that it is hard for a the Tech Systems to keep up with the latest equipment. Apprenticeship is a perfect solution!


The Marshfield Area Community Foundation established the annual Anne Adler Community Service Award in 2010. This award was created to honor Anne Adler and her dedication to the Marshfield Area Community Foundation. The award is given to someone who significantly contributes to the quality of life in the Marshfield area. It is the mission of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation to “connect people who care with the causes that matter to enrich the quality of life in the Marshfield area.”

The fifth annual award was given to Jane Wagner last week in recognition for her work with countless community groups in the Marshfield area. Jane has given back enormously to our community. Several community members, including Peg Geegan, Susan Babcock, Jennifer Fredrick, Laura Drendel, Laurel Peterson, Amber Leifheit and the Rev. Peter Ruggles, wrote letters of support for this nomination....

...Under her leadership, our Youth Apprenticeship program grew, allowing students with a wide range of career interests to gain invaluable experiences in the world of work. She advanced partnerships with Mid-State Technical College and UW Wood County for dual enrollment options. Jane is a true advocate for all students.”....

Ken Notes: We need more advocates for our students! Congrats Jane!


The first session of the software engineering apprenticeship program between GE Capital's Central Business District technology office and the University of New Orleans served 14 apprentices from January to May. The financial services arm of General Electric has hired two of them, said an announcement about the inaugural term. Twelve others are continuing as apprentices for the summer....

...The company and UNO announced the program in September. It fulfills a $5 million commitment by Louisiana economic developers to bolster technology training at state universities as part of the incentive package that lured GE to locate an office here.   ...more

Completing the graduation series was the apprenticeship banquet at Millhome in Kiel. Twenty nine apprenticeship completers were recognized by keynote speaker Kari Krull, Career and Technical Education Coordinator and Manitowoc County Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for the Manitowoc School District. The student speaker was Kyle Schisel of Manitowoc, a carpentry apprentice with Bartow Builders.

The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs. In these programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.

Ken Notes: congratulations to all the recent grads. Please feel free to sen us you apprenticship related stories so that we may share them!


Manufacturers across the United States are targeting schools and colleges to let young people know there is more to manufacturing than pulling levers on an assembly line.

“People still have the idea that manufacturing is a dirty dungeon place,” said Andy Bushmaker of KI Furniture, a maker of school desks and cafeteria tables in Green Bay, Wis. The goal, Bushmaker said, is to get people to see manufacturing jobs as the high-tech, high-skilled and high-paying careers they can be in the second decade of the 21st century.

Today’s manufacturers, whether they are making cars, airplanes or iPhone parts, are looking for engineers, designers, machinists and computer programmers. Manufacturing has moved from manual mills and lathes to computerized numerical control equipment and 3-D printers. Hand-held welders are being replaced with robotic welders. Industrial maintenance mechanics no longer need to know how to use a wrench, but have to be able to operate a “programmable logic control,” or a digital computer, to fix the machines.

Many of the jobs pay well — the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,505 in 2012, including pay and benefits — but they can be hard to fill.

Ken Notes: I do not make 77K...


This week, more than 1,000 Scottish companies will participate in Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2014, highlighting the success of the country’s recent efforts to dramatically increase apprenticeships. As U.S. policymakers set out to double the number of apprenticeships in America over the next five years, Scotland serves as an example of a country that has done just that.

As detailed in a recent Center for American Progress report, “Training for Success: A Policy to Expand Apprenticeships in the United States,” apprenticeships help businesses meet the demand for skilled workers while offering workers higher wages and better employment outcomes. In particular, apprenticeships can benefit Millennials, who face disproportionately high unemployment rates, low-wage jobs, rising college costs, and spiraling student debt.

Ken Notes: Great read!


The Kentucky Labor Cabinet is urging employers, unions and community colleges in the Commonwealth to join recent national efforts to support job-driven training and registered apprenticeship.

Governor Steve Beshear expressed support of federal grants for training and apprenticeship programs, adding that having a workforce that can meet the needs of businesses is a key component of his economic development plan.

“I applaud this vital investment in job training to support the skilled labor jobs that propel our economy forward,” said Gov. Beshear. “Partnering with industry, community colleges, unions and training organizations will give this initiative the infrastructure necessary to guarantee that both workers and businesses get the training and support they need for mutual success.”


Washington, D.C. | David Allhands of Beaver Dam, won the bronze medal in the HVAC competition held by Associated Builders and Contractors National Craft Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

Allhands was presented with the award during ABC’s Careers in Construction awards ceremony May 2, also in Birmingham.

The National Craft Championships feature the nation’s best craft trainees competing first in a two-hour written exam and then in a day-long hands-on practical performance test. This year’s competition featured 156 competitors from 28 states competing for gold, silver and bronze and a safety award medals in 13 competitions representing 11 crafts.

Allhands works at North American Mechanical in Windsor, and is currently enrolled in a training program at ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship and Training Trust. In addition to the bronze medal, he also received a cash award of $350 from ABC, a pair of boots from Keen and tools from Hilti and Klein.   ...more

Today’s manufacturers are trying to convince students and their parents that jobs in factories can be high-tech, high-skilled and high-paying careers...

anufacturers across the United States are targeting schools and colleges to let young people know there is more to manufacturing than pulling levers on an assembly line.

“People still have the idea that manufacturing is a dirty dungeon place,” said Andy Bushmaker of KI Furniture, a maker of school desks and cafeteria tables in Green Bay, Wis. The goal, Bushmaker said, is to get people to see manufacturing jobs as the high-tech, high-skilled and high-paying careers that they can be in the second decade of the 21st century.


Iowa's apprenticeship program providers now have a pool of $3 million from the state to help offset the costs of training.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed legislation today that annually appropriates $6 million into a state workforce training program.

Half of that money is dedicated to job training programs hosted by the state's community colleges. The other half is set aside for the state's apprenticeship program, which the Iowa Economic Development Authority operates.


You can boost the skills of your work­ers through a time-tested approach: apprenticeship. This helps newer employees benefit from those who have valuable skills and experience to share. At the same time, it improves learning by bridging the gap between ordinary training and daily work.

Two approaches to apprenticeship offer the flexibility to meet many training needs in today's workplace. In a buddy system, an apprentice works with a lead employee most of the time, while a training assignment challenges team members to work at the limit of his or her abilities. Here's how to put these techniques to work:

The buddy system. Let pairs of people—one experienced, one new to the team or assignment—work together for weeks, months or longer. Allow an adjustment period, and give each person the right to terminate the apprenticeship. But keep workable matches in place as long as they offer continued benefits.


Without question, the Great Recession took its toll on the construction industry, with both union and nonunion workers struggling to find work and provide for their families (“Help wanted,” Dispatch article, Sunday).

Recognizing the cyclical nature of the construction industry, Ohio’s building trades maintained their course with continued investment in apprenticeship training during this period. With more than 80 apprenticeship-training centers across the state, the building trades invest millions annually to ensure apprentices receive the highest-quality instruction and safety training.


What is Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a structured system of training designed to prepare individuals for skilled occupations...

Youth Apprenticeship.

Youth Apprenticeship is not the same as apprenticeship.  Wisconsin's Youth Apprenticeship program is a part of a statewide School-to-Work initiative...

How does apprenticeship work?

Apprenticeship is post-secondary education like a college or university.  But there's a big difference.  Apprentices learn only a portion of their skills in a traditional classroom...

Who can be an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are open to anyone 18 years of age or older.  Aside from that, age doesn't matter, though many young people start their training directly after high school...

How do You become an apprentice?

Application procedures vary widely depending on the occupation and geographical location...

Ken Notes: Read This! Share This!

Manufacturers across the United States are targeting schools and colleges to let young people know there is more to manufacturing than pulling levers on an assembly line.

“People still have the idea that manufacturing is a dirty dungeon place,” said Andy Bushmaker of KI Furniture, a maker of school desks and cafeteria tables in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The goal, Bushmaker said, is to get people to see manufacturing jobs as the high-tech, high-skilled and high-paying careers they can be in the second decade of the 21st century.  

Today’s manufacturers, whether they are making cars, airplanes, or iPhone parts, are looking for engineers, designers, machinists and computer programmers.   Manufacturing has moved from manual mills and lathes to computerized numerical control equipment and 3-D printers.  Hand-held welders are being replaced with robotic welders.  Industrial maintenance mechanics no longer need to know how to use a wrench, but have to be able to operate a “programmable logic control,” or a digital computer, to fix the machines.

Many of the jobs pay well...

Ken Notes: These jobs will pay extremely well as we retool the automotive, construction, energy production, heavy equipment and other major markets in light of new energy efficient technologies.

Apprenticeship opportunities in the United States may be declining, but some federal grants are aimed at helping to turn that trend around.

The phrase "earn and learn" sounds quite attractive to anyone who wants to work in a specialized industry but can't afford to pay education costs. However, apprenticeships and internships have gotten a bad reputation in the United States; where tales of woe from underpaid interns and a uniquely American resistance to putting youngsters on a career "track" have kept industries from using the apprenticeship model as a way of building a specialized, skilled workforce.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the decline of apprenticeships.

"There is a growing skills gap in the U.S.," says Jennifer Grasz, vice president of corporate communications for Chicago-based CareerBuilder, which recently put out a survey in which more than half of employers said they currently have open positions for which they can't find qualified candidates.    ...more

"Middle jobs" provide decent salaries with some additional training beyond high school, without the time or financial commitment of a bachelor's degree.

More than 3 million teenagers are expected to graduate from high school over the next six weeks. For most of them, their choices are stark: Either find a job or enter college.

But there's no reason for students to view their career paths in such extremes as working at McDonald's or attending Harvard, says Anthony Carnevale, director and research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Every year, the U.S. economy offers roughly 29 million "middle jobs," as Carnevale calls them: positions that demand some additional schooling or certification beyond the 12th grade, but not the time or financial commitment of a bachelor's degree.

These jobs are in industries as diverse as health care, information technology, the arts, sales, food service, management, and skilled manufacturing,...

Ken Notes: We agree and will still almost half not entering post secondary training we must identify ways of shaping their future without the college mandate.

Craig Holden traveled from Doylestown, Pa., to attend Steam Engineer School Saturday at Heritage Park of North Iowa in Forest City.

"I am a steam enthusiast," he said. "I make it a point to go to different steam schools throughout the United States."

After attending the school in Forest City for the first time last year, Holden was impressed and came back this year with his 15-year-old son, C.J.

"He's going through steam school for the first time," Holden said. 

The Holdens were not the only ones who will travel long distances to learn about the power of steam.


We tend to associate apprenticeships with mechanics or engineering or manufacturing; opportunities to break into the media, communications and advertising industry via an apprenticeship are few and far between. Karen Blackett, CEO of MediaCom UK, wants that to change, to encourage a diversity in the communications industries that mirrors the diversity of society itself. In 2012, she launched an apprenticeship scheme at MediaCom, the largest media agency in the UK, aiming to discover, develop and mentor talent from all backgrounds. The first cohort of MediaCom apprentices to complete the scheme have all been taken on as full-time employees and, says Blackett, they have contributed as much to the company as they have gained from it...

Ken Notes: Great read from Forbes...

Gov. Pat McCrory was in town Thursday night, along with the leaders of the state's community college and public school systems, to congratulate a handful of local high school students.

The eight teenagers who were honored are the first graduating class from an apprenticeship program between Caterpillar, Lee County Schools and Central Carolina Community College. The ceremony was held at the Caterpillar plant in the Lee County Industrial Park.

Ken Notes: We have some heavy metal industry in the state that could offer some pretty cool programs. In fact if Harley-Davidson needs an apprentice I may have to rethink my career path.


Tampa, Florida - The need for talented manufacturing workers has led Hillsborough County to pledge $1 million toward resolving the local "skills gap.''

A new Manufacturing Academy and Apprenticeship/Internship Program (MAAIP) is a meant to be a "three-pronged approach'' to closing this gap and promoting manufacturing as a viable career path for young workers. The MAAIP also plans to place special emphasis on marketing to students, veterans, women, minorities and underserved communities.

The $1 million in seed money will be split between the Manufacturing Academy; an Apprenticeship and Internship Incentive Program; and marketing of the two to potential private sector partners, students and their families.   ...more

ALAN DUNN, the head brewer at Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, says he never gets tired of trying the labours of his toils.

“There’s a myth that if you’re making chocolate or brewing beer that you get sick of it, but I never get tired of trying the beer I brew,” he said.

He’s worked as a brewer since 1977 first at Ruddles, before joining Black Sheep in the late 1990s. Now the company’s looking to the next generation of brewers to its flock taking on the first ever apprentices, described as lambs by the PR company in a run of inevitable sheep puns.

In association with Askham Bryan College, they’ve taken on Nicholas Norris, 22, from Thirn, and Joshua Lacey, 19, from Easingwold. Both are studying for a Food and Drink Qualification Level 2 Diploma For Proficiency in Brewing and Industry Skills that takes 18 months to complete. They get 37 hours’ a week work experience at Black Sheep, seven of those hours are taken up by training.

Ken Notes: Hmmmmmm... If HD is not taking apprentices New Glarus might be a good choice....


We’ve advocated in this space for greater support from the Legislature for Wisconsin’s technical college system. Technical colleges are uniquely positioned to address the persistently high unemployment in the state’s urban areas, including Racine; they can address the shortage of qualified workers for manufacturing jobs, aka the skills gap. They also provide opportunity for people who want a job, or a better job, and know that a four-year college isn’t the right choice for them.

A May 5 report by the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team underlines this point: There is a looming labor shortage in the Badger State, meaning we need to get moving on increasing the number of young, skilled workers.

One of the biggest reasons is the retirement of the baby boomers, those born between 1945 and the mid-1960s. State demographers say the number of residents age 65 or older will more than double by 2040, rising from 14 percent of the state population to 24 percent....

Ken Notes: We agree, and apprenticeship is one answer that can make a huge difference. We also need to pass on the skill sets of the retirement group before they retire.


Manufacturing is growing in the United States, but many companies claim that they face a “skills gap.” These companies have unfilled vacancies, but say that unemployed workers and recent high school graduates do not have the technical knowledge needed to fill them. Apprenticeships have historically taught students the necessary skills for a career in manufacturing. However, there has been a sharp decline in apprenticeships across the United States, some 40 percent over the past decade, and cash-strapped state budgets have forced schools to cut technical education in favor of four-year college preparatory curricula.

Ken Notes: We may be preaching to the choir, so it is up to you to share these stories with the unconverted. We provide simple links so you can share these right down here ->...

Increasing the supply of skilled tradespeople has rapidly become the country's most critical educational need, yet barriers to training remain virtually unchanged.

Applicants often face long waiting lists because funding hasn't grown in concert with that need, while huge sums are being spent turning out post-secondary graduates with skills that are neither useful to their own future nor that of our country.

To do their crucial job, Canada's polytechnics and trades-training community colleges must receive a substantially larger portion of the funding pie.

For students who get past the waiting lists, the next challenge is finding an inter-semester apprenticeship position...

Ken Notes: Again we agree here and we can fix this, but it will require leadership and cooperation and that does not seem high on the priority list lately.


More than 300 young people attended an apprenticeship jobs fair.

The event at Connexions, in Charles Street, Leicester, featured up to 200 apprenticeship job opportunities from a range of employers and training providers, including Caterpillar, Cromwell Group, the NHS, Aggregate Industries, Santander and Barratt Developments....

Ken Notes: This event was in England, but they (Apprenticeship jobs fair) are not a bad idea for the state. We will be glad to help publicize them just email us the details.

Also Note: Over 500 press outlets read WA each week and we encourage them to pick up our stories for rewrite or ideas. We can also present ideas for your group or board to ponder.


CT State lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday at the close of the legislative session that expands the state's manufacturing tax credit for businesses that hire apprentice workers.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Selim G. Noujaim, R-74th District, extends the state's manufacturing apprentice tax credit to Sub Chapter S corporations, limited-liability companies and sole proprietorships, according to a news release from Noujaim's office.

Ken Notes: Great ideas here. WisconsinDevelopment.com has been advocating for a simple job expansion tax credit. What if we doubled this for new hires using an apprentice program????

The Oregon Tradeswomen held a career fair this weekend to encourage women to consider apprenticeships in the trades, including carpentry, plumbing, electric work, masonry, and power line work.

Although these remain male-dominated fields, women who have made their way into the trades say they offer a living wage without going into debt earning a college degree. "For diverse women and men of color, going into the trades is a way to move out of poverty and into the middle class," said Connie Ashbrook, the director of Oregon Tradeswoman. Ashbrook spent 17 years working in construction, primarily as an elevator builder....

Ken Notes: Again good ideas here. Madison are you reading this???


Registration for NTMA Apprenticeship Aptitude Test – Rock Valley College Stenstrom Center, 4151 Samuelson Road. Date: May 10, 8 a.m. Offered by Rock River Valley Tooling & Machining Association. Fee: $30 due on test date in cash or check poayable to RRVTMA. Contact Don Williams, Apprentice Administrator, phone 815-978-3698, fax 815-516-8431 or don_rrvtma@comcast.net.

Ken Notes: Illinois but close...


Blackhawk Technical College’s (BTC) Advanced Manufacturing Training Center is planned to open in August, but more than 200 high school students got a sneak peak of the facilities on April 23.

Students from Edgerton High School and Milton High School spent last Wednesday touring Blackhawk’s Central Campus in Janesville and the new 105,000-square-foot Milton location.

At the Janesville campus, students had the chance to learn about the eight different programs that will be offered at the new campus first-hand. According to Marketing and Communications Manager Gary Kohn, the Milton site will open in two phases. The industrial maintenance, welding and computer numeric control (CNC) programs will be ready for the fall semester of the 2014-2015 school year and the second phase of the campus will completed in the summer of 2015.

More than 100 students from throughout Jefferson County are getting part of their education “on the job” as youth apprentices in areas ranging from finance and automotive technology to graphic arts, manufacturing and agriculture.

Graduates from the youth apprenticeship and co-op programs who were honored in a special reception and ceremony Wednesday evening come from Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Palmyra-Eagle, Waterloo, Watertown and Whitewater high schools.

This year, about 130 students were signed up for the program, up from a typical 110. That’s about even with participation in the much more populous Dane County, officials said. Watertown had 36 graduates from the program, Jefferson 27, Fort Atkinson 14, Lake Mills 10, Palmyra-Eagle eight, Waterloo and Johnson Creek three each, and Whitewater one. Opportunities Inc. in Fort Atkinson also has student representatives from across the county.


More than 240 job seekers attended a job fair yesterday hosted by an employment coalition made up of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM), Milwaukee Achiever, the Guest House, WCS Parsons House, Infallible Helping Hands, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The job fair was held at the HACM Community Services Building, located at 650 W. Reservoir.

The event connected job seekers to 27 Milwaukee- area employers and apprenticeship programs, including Rockwell Automation, FedEx, Time Warner Cable, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, and others...

Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) Secretary John A. Scocos announced VetCon: A Veteran Employment and Services Conference will take place on May 10 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.

VetCon, presented in partnership with Hiring our Heroes, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), is a conference for veterans and employers who seek to hire veterans that will include a career fair, a benefits expo, workshops such as financial planning and resume writing, as well as provide access to educational and other resources.

Veterans and employers are invited to kick-off the daylong conference at a breakfast.

Governor Scott Walker is the invited keynote speaker...


Remember the “sham-wow” guy, famous for the 30-second bits in the middle of late night TV? One of his many one-liners was, “you know the Germans always make good stuff.” Turns out, he may be right.

Germany, through a well-designed apprenticeship system, has, for decades, been preparing young people for its demanding economy—and the United States could learn from Germany’s example.

America’s education system is not doing enough prepare students for future employment. A recent Gallup poll reveals that a meager 11 percent of business leaders strongly agreed that recent graduates had the skills to perform well in the work place.Among high school graduates, The American Diploma Project found that, “Most employers say high school graduates lack basic skills. More than 60 percent of employers rate graduates’ skills in grammar, spelling, writing and basic math as only ‘fair’ or ‘poor.’”.

In Germany, the system is very different. After finishing secondary school, two-thirds of young people become paid apprentices, spending 3 to 4 days at work and 1 to 2 days in state sponsored vocational schools. Training typically lasts three years and there are apprenticeship opportunities in all careers, although the majority is in the service sector...

Ken Notes: We have suggested that the German Model is the gold standard and Wisconsin is moving in the right direction but the numbers tell the real story. We beieve EVERY Wisconsin student needs a career path to employment. 


An economic development spending bill approved by the Iowa Senate Tuesday night establishes an Iowa apprenticeship program that is a key priority of Gov. Terry Branstad's legislative agenda.

House File 2460, which was returned to the House, sets aside about $3 million for the Apprenticeship Training Program Fund and $3 million for the Job Training Fund for Community College jobs retraining. The bill passed 27-23 with all Democrats voting yes and all Republicans voting no except for Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City, who voted yes.

Sen. William Dotzler,D-Waterloo, said Senate Democrats tacked the apprenticeship program onto the economic development appropriations bill because the apprenticeship initiative had appeared to be stalled in the Republican-controlled House.

Ken Notes: I have seen an increase in the number of WA subscribers from Iowa, now I know why...


Increasing the supply of skilled tradespersons has rapidly become the country’s most critical educational need, yet barriers to training remain virtually unchanged.

Applicants often face long waiting lists because funding hasn’t grown in concert with that need, while huge sums are being spent turning out post-secondary graduates with skills that are neither useful to their own future nor that of our country.

To do their crucial job, Canada’s polytechnics and trades-training community colleges must receive a substantially larger portion of the funding pie.

For students who get past the waiting lists, the next challenge is finding an inter-semester apprenticeship position....   ...more

Fox Valley Technical College has announced new employees: William Behnke, custodian; Janet Braun, applied engineering technologies instructor; Julie Coenen, scholarship and community relations manager; Chris Dragosh, electrical apprenticeship instructor; Linda Ensley, administrative assistant, Waupaca Regional Center; Barbara Evensen, early childhood instructor; Andrea Huntoon, science instructor; Jeanette Leitner, project specialist, criminal justice; Jackie Maas-Montour, food program specialist; Wendy Osburn, general studies instructor; Anne Peregrine, science instructor; Tyler Plog, software engineer technician; Philip Schaefer, project specialist, criminal justice; See Song, enrollment facilitator; Michelle Vang, administrative assistant, business and service division; Cary Waubanascum, project specialist, criminal justice; and David Yang, test center assistant...   ...more

ANCHORAGE – Many students have no idea what they want to do after they graduate from high school.
But that is not the case for two young men taking classes at the King Career Center. Brian Hobbs and Jacob Bates learned recently they had been invited to interview for the IBEW’s apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship program is extremely competitive. It’s a five-year program that includes thousands of hours of classroom training. The majority of the time is spent “on the job” where students earn a starting salary of $19.40 an hour. Student Brian Hobbs said that’s a pretty sweet deal...


Ask CEOs and corporate recruiters whether they're finding the workers they need, and they'll lament about a skills gap that threatens productivity and growth—not just in their companies but in the economy at large.

Yet employers and state legislators have been decidedly lukewarm about a proven solution to the problem: apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships can offer a precise match between the skills employers want and the training workers receive, says Robert Lerman, an economics professor at American University.

"It's a great model for transferring skills from one generation to the next," says John Ladd, director of the Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship....

Innovative Thinking

Proponents of apprenticeships argue that blending on-the-job training, related education and benchmarks can be done in any occupation. They point to programs in places like South Carolina and Wisconsin as producing encouraging results.

Apprenticeships now exist for computer professionals and for certified nursing assistants in South Carolina, where the number of businesses offering apprenticeships has grown to 647 from 90 in 2007. Some 4,700 people who trained in South Carolina's apprentice program are now fully employed....

Wisconsin, which has about 8,000 apprentices currently, is pushing to add training positions for skills from truck driving to high-tech manufacturing.

"We're projecting worker shortages in health care and advanced manufacturing," says Karen Morgan, director of Wisconsin's Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. The Governor's Council on Workforce Investment is looking at what it can do, she says. The state has several programs to add robotics and high-level welding to its regular apprenticeship training.

"We're making our programs more nimble," Ms. Morgan says, to show manufacturers the relevance apprenticeships can have for a sector undergoing rapid innovation.

Ken Notes: Read the entire article at the link... SHARE this story... Press Outlets write about this story...  8,000 is a good number but in Germany the number is is 40% of the age group (In Wisconsin that would be between 80,000 and 100,000) - we have work to do.


RACINE -- With the growing cost of a college education and the debate over student debt, trade and vocational schools are seeing a resurgence. Now one non-profit organization is offering that kind of training, but for free.

The Human Capitol Development Corporation based out of Racine offers training for those interested in the construction industry through the First Choice Pre-apprenticeship program.

Since 2005, close to 500 people have graduated from the pgroam and 122 of them have obtained jobs.

 "Instead of just having a job, I'm working towards a career," said Tykia Norris, who graduated from the program in 2005.

Norris went from Certified Nursing Assistant making minimum wage, to a Concrete Laborer making $25 an hour.

 "I've been working with my company for 5 years and I've just been progressing... I've been through two different apprenticeships since I started my job," added Norris....

Ken Notes: Nice Video at the link...

RACINE COUNTY — As a certified nursing assistant working at an independent living facility, Tykia Norris used to make about $9.50 per hour.

But she struggled to support her family and when she heard about an opportunity to try a career in construction, she jumped at it.

Nearly four years later Norris, 33, of Racine, is now making more than $25 per hour.

“They say money brings problems, but not having any brings more,” said Norris, who has a 14-year-old son.

Norris is one of about 475 people who have completed construction training programs since 2005 through Racine’s Human Capital Development Corp., which runs First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship at 1437 Marquette St. The nonprofit trains people for construction jobs such as preparing them to work on the Interstate 94 project...

Ken Notes: More from Racine...


Kim Collins got a toehold in professional brewing with an apprenticeship – a fancy way of saying she spent three months getting up when it was still dark to clean equipment and pitch in wherever needed without drawing a paycheck.

That experience at in Idaho Springs led to paid gigs, first at Company, then in Denver, and finally as head brewer at Barrels and Bottles in Golden....

...Collins said she started off homebrewing for seven years, then completed a Master Brewers Association of the Americas course in Madison, Wisconsin, before beginning her arduous employment journey. She started this week at the seven-month-old brewpub...

Ken Notes: Come back to Madison, we miss you...


PLYMOUTH, Wis.-- Sartori Cheese is proud to announce that Master Cheesemaker Mark Gustafson has received his second Master certification, specializing in Fontina and Romano cheese. In 2010, Gustafson was the youngest licensed cheesemaker ever to complete the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® Program, in which he mastered in Parmesan and Asiago cheese.   ...more

B.C.’s education system is getting an overhaul that will put more public money into preparing students for work in the province’s booming resource sector.

But the shift is being made without a bigger budget, meaning the changes will likely come at the expense of students in fields where the job opportunities are not as obvious.

The B.C. government is expected to announce on Tuesday a 10-year skills training plan that will “re-engineer” the public-education system from kindergarten to post-secondary and apprenticeship training, directing more resources to providing the labour market’s most in-demand skills. The announcement will feature high-school students in a welding class demonstration using a mobile trades training unit on the ground of the Parliament Buildings – the kind of hands-on learning the province plans to boost....

More Related to this Story


THORP, Wis. — The rise of Holland’s Family Cheese is an old-fashioned love story. It’s the story of a Dutch couple’s love of dairy farming, each other and, of course, cheese.

Dutch-style Gouda cheese, in particular....

Ken Notes: Just a quick note I ran this story last week and it got "picked up" by a number of local media outlets. First just let me say thank you for reading and sharing, second please forward your stories my way by early Monday morning (very early it is 5:40 am and I am on my second cup of coffee). WisconsinApprentice wants to share your ideas and programs with others in the state and world...


Marsha Nebel, Green Bay, was named International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hour Power Journeyman Mentor of the Year. Nebel is an employee of Van Ert Electric, Kaukauna, and a 35-year member of the IBEW Local 158 in Green Bay. Van Ert is a third-generation electrician and the first woman in Green Bay to be given an electrical apprenticeship. She was recognized for her mentoring of electrical apprentices in the area.

Ken Notes: Congrats and thank you!

For decades, spending the summer working at a factory was a tradition for many students on break from school and eager to put some cash in their pockets.

The summer jobs, often at factories where their parents worked, varied from sweeping the shop floor to helping out in the shipping department. Some large manufacturers hired hundreds of students to fill in for employees on vacation.

Fast forward to today. The job market for factory workers has improved some in recent months, and many companies complain about having difficulties finding enough qualified help.

Ken Notes: My father always got me a summer gig working in the Waupaca Foundry - I think he knew it would motivate me to go back to school in the fall - It did...


California - New legislation helps make employee investments less taxing for business

The skills gap among California’s workers continues to stall employment and economic growth. It concerns business and political leaders at all levels.

Many employers explain the reason for their unfilled jobs as a lack of available trained workers. By 2020, the United States is expected to experience a shortage of three million workers with associate degrees or higher and five million workers with technical certificates and credentials...The LEAP Act is based on a similar program in South Carolina, using public-private partnerships with incentives for business and industry. Companies such as Boeing and BMW along with smaller businesses are using the program and providing employment opportunities for individuals. Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Iowa also offer support for strong youth apprenticeship incentive and expansion programs....   ...more

Apprenticeship Introduction for Women: 5:30-7:30 p.m. April 22, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Student Center, Room SC 128, 2740 W. Mason St., Green Bay. Information session about “learn while you earn” apprenticeships in building and industrial trades. Free. Registration appreciated. Contact Wa Yia Thao, (920) 498-6895 or email yia.thao@nwtc.edu.   ...more

A Wisconsin dairy goat farmer aiming to develop a farmstead creamery is the recipient of the 2014 Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship from Wisconsin Cheese Originals.

Sandra Acosta, of Port Washington, was selected by a committee of industry leaders for the $2,500 annual award. An accomplished cheesemaker, veterinarian and instructor in native Mexico, Acosta aims to become a licensed cheesemaker in her new home country. Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to require cheesemakers to be licensed, an 18-month process that requires attendance at five university short courses, 240 hours of apprenticeship under a licensed cheesemaker, and a written exam at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.

Ken Notes: Congrats, and thanks again for this program!


The rise of Holland's Family Cheese is an old-fashioned love story.

It's the story of a Dutch couple's love of dairy farming, each other and, of course, cheese.

Dutch-style Gouda cheese, in particular.

...She obtained her Wisconsin cheesemaking license, spent time at a farmhouse cheese plant in Holland learning how to make authentic Dutch Gouda and completed an apprenticeship with Virgil Schunk, owner of Gingerbread Jersey Cheese in Augusta....

"For us," Marieke said, "America is truly a land of opportunity."

Ken notes: Shouldn't all great love stories begin with an apprenticeship...    ...more

Country View Veterinary Clinic was named one of eight “Business Friends of Education” in Wisconsin by state superintendent Tony Evers this month.

The awards recognize businesses that help students graduate well prepared for college and career.

Amy Robinson of Country View Veterinary Clinic has lent her expertise as a veterinarian to improve the educational experiences of Oregon High School students and its career and technical education program. In just the past four years, Robinson has worked with 14 agriculture youth apprenticeship students, providing hands-on experience and skills to help them pursue their interests in veterinary or animal fields....

Ken Notes: remember to seek attention for your apprenticeship providers...


WisconsinApprentice.com is seeking sponsors. Place your company in front of every school superintendent, legislator, and others businesses actively promoting apprenticeship in Wisconsin every week.

If you know someone who can help contact:

Julia Henley
Founder / Marketing / Senior Partner

Blue River WI 53518

Email Contact


At a visit to a community college outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, President Obama and vice-president Joe Biden announced grants worth $150m to expand apprenticeships.

In the US, community colleges are considered one of the ways to train workers with the vocational skills they need for a job. For the last three years, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative has provided funding to more than 800 such colleges. The colleges are typically two-year institutions attended by many after graduating from high school at about age 18.

Ken Notes: I love the fact that this story is from a UK paper. They see the value in investing in our youth - I am not sure we in the US do???


More Michigan employers and educators are using apprenticeships to train job seekers for new careers, a trend that could continue as federal and state governments focus on the programs.

There are about 9,100 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs in Michigan, up from 7,500 in February 2013.

"This is something that we've really focused a lot of attention on in the last couple of years," said Christine Quinn, director of the Michigan Workforce Development Agency. "Apprenticeships seem to be coming back in full force."


U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar applauded Albert Lea’s Youth Apprenticeship Program on Thursday, calling it a great example of collaboration and an answer to dealing with a shortage of skilled workers in today’s industries.

Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minneapolis, stopped in town to learn from three students, local officials and business leaders at Lou-Rich, where the project started.

“You could see the excitement of the high school kids involved in this program,” she said. “It’s a great example of what we need to be doing.”

...The Minnesota program, through the Minnesota Department of Education and the Department of Employment and Economic Development, is modeled after a Wisconsin course that incorporates classroom training, mentoring and hands-on experience. The Albert Lea program is one of two in the state.

Ken Notes: One modeled after a Wisconsin course. Two Invite your senator / congressman to see your program and tip off the press...

PESHTIGO - For local communities who rely on manufacturing businesses as much as Marinette County does, the fact that fewer and fewer students are looking at manufacturing as a career choice should be worrisome, according to Jim Koronkiewicz, general manager at BPM Inc. in Peshtigo.

In an attempt to remedy the future shortage of workers, BPM partnered with the Peshtigo, Oconto and Marinette school districts and GPS Education Partners to bring a nontraditional learning approach to select students and also expose them to manufacturing jobs through apprenticeships through the BPM Education Center in Peshtigo.

"It is not a traditional classroom setting, they are part of a business," said Julie King-Mann, GPS program coordinator.

President Obama and Vice President Biden.hit the road Wednesday to sell job training programs that can help American workers beat high-tech foreign competition.

"Our best bet is keeping ahead in the skills race," Obama said in remarks at a community college near Pittsburgh.

Obama announced $500 million in competitive grants for community colleges willing to partner with local businesses to teach students the skills needed for modern jobs. Another $100 million is available for "American Apprenticeship Grants" devoted to the same purpose.

Ken Notes: Share this and help us get the word out...

The Iowa Senate on Thursday passed and sent to the House a job training bill that creates an apprenticeship program that its sponsor called “must-do” legislation to give the state’s workforce the skills needed for tomorrow’s jobs.

Sixty percent of jobs will require post-high school training of one sort or another, Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo said about Senate File 2353.

He said there are 10,000 to 15,000 open now because employers can’t find workers with the skills they need.

Ken Notes: Wisconsin has a similar skills gap...


Life is a breeze for a Welsh student who has landed a dream job on a luxury 35m superyacht based in the South of France as part of an unusual apprenticeship.

Connor Jones, 18, from Llangain, Carmarthenshire, has just completed the first six month phase of the revered superyacht cadetship course run by sail training charity UKSA (formerly known as the UK Sailing Academy).

It aims to establish him in a role as a professional deckhand cruising the Mediterranean over the next nine months as phase two of the course.

And it could lead to a lucrative and exciting career on superyachts.

Ken Notes: I may be ready to apprentice...


Wisconsin's apprenticeship system began in 1911, the same year as the founding of the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Here are some common questions about the system with answers provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System:
Q:What is apprenticeship?

Ken Notes: great read... great program... great history... Let's hope in 103 years they are reading about what we started 200+ years ago and the positive impact it is having on our youth.

-- Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, 608-266-3332, or dwd.wisconsin.gov/apprenticeship.

-- Associated Builders & Contractors of Wisconsin, 608-244-5883, or abcwi.org.

-- Wisconsin Joint Apprenticeship & Training, 608-221-3321, or wijatc.org.

-- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 890, 17 S. River St., Janesville, 608-752-0321. The union accepts applications for the electrical construction apprenticeship program.   ...more

No matter who you are or where you come from, everybody deserves the freedom to pursue and achieve the American Dream. The American Dream begins with the ability to obtain a family-supporting job if you work hard and play by the rules...

Ken Notes: I agree (with the title), but this is a finger pointing column and not a solutions column, which is too bad because it was written by legislators. Let's advocate for solutions instead of blaming the "other side". Lets ask every elected official for one idea to improve education, post it, and work to implement it.

Here is mine - Increase exponentially the access to, and availability of, apprenticeship and school to work transitional programs in the state by working with schools and businesses and demonstrating the need for and the success of these programs.

How am I doing???


Germany is all the rage these days as a model for possible economic solutions. The country boasts an 8-percent youth unemployment rate, a data point that looks practically quaint compared to the U.S. teen unemployment rate of more than 20 percent. Auto workers in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently tried unsuccessfully to unionize following the model of the German "work councils" that aim to include employee input in plant decisions. And, Germans (along with Australians, Canadians, and Britons) embrace apprenticeships as a way to train young people for the workforce, believing that not everyone needs to go to college to land a decent, skilled job.

The idea of apprenticeships is gaining some traction among D.C. thinkers as a way to tackle the ongoing teen employment crisis in this country. After all, apprenticeships train workers on the job, allowing them to gain concrete skills and earn real money...

Ken Notes: It would be a great start!!!

Ohio's community college system is part of a new national consortium to make it easier for students in apprenticeships to transfer their experience into academic credit.

But the state and Cuyahoga Community College are among the leaders in this initiative, officials said.

Vice President Joe Biden recently announced the national program at the annual conference of the American Association of Community Colleges.

Ken Notes: Wisconsin is actually leading the way here!


The teenage worker suffered bad bruising to his back but no broken bones after his fall during work to install solar panels by electrical contractor Austin Gregg, of Masham....

The 16-year-old was on the ground tidying up when he was asked by the other apprentice if he would fetch a tool.

Without thinking to put a harness on, the youngster went on to the roof, stumbled and trod on a partially-covered rooflight which gave way, sending him crashing through to land on the concrete floor below...

Ken Notes: Always remind your business partners and trainers about the double need for safety on the job site when youth are involved. We believe that obtaining an insurance blanket for a state wide apprenticeship programs is needed, and to get one we need to demonstrate our diligence. Also remember this was an accident and a learning experience, if we use safety as a reason not to have a program no 16 year old should ever dive.


Senate Bill 237 – reduces barriers for people pursuing barbering and cosmetology licenses.  The bill allows people to earn their license faster, by reducing the number of apprentice hours from 3,712 to 1,712, eliminating the requirement that the 1,000 classroom hours be spread out over a 10 month period, and allowing classroom time to exceed eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. 

Senate Bill 286 – holds low performing schools to higher standards in part by requiring charter and choice schools to begin using a student information system (SIS), or similar program, within five years of establishment.

Senate Bill 589 – ensures students receive the necessary amount of instruction per academic year and eliminates the requirement that schools have 180 days of instruction per academic year.

If you get into the program to train as an electrician that is run by the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC), you will be making $25.63 per hour when you draw your first paycheck. And you will draw that check pretty quickly because the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) program is a combination of classroom learning, hands-on training, and on-the-job experience. It is a five-year program, but you earn while you learn.

“The state used to regulate the training into periods,” said Jake Benninger, the JATC training director, “but that was disadvantageous to women and minorities. We told them that we needed to recruit all the time.” A year ago the IBEW launched an online application process and the numbers of applicants jumped by 400 percent...


This is a list of our Technical School Contacts (presidents). Please forward the name and contact data for you apprenticeship coordinators, trainers, advisors so we can add them to our network. Note those now serving on the DWD advisory Committee are already on our list in another capacity...

Several recent reports have highlighted the vast inequalities children of color face in Wisconsin, and a new national report ranks Wisconsin the worst place to live as a black child seeking financial and educational equality.

The report, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, titled “Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children,” measured children’s opportunities in 12 distinct areas including education, financial security and home life.

In the areas measured, Wisconsin ranked 50th for black children, 37th for Asian children, 17th for Latino children and 10th for white children in terms of overall opportunity.

Ken Notes: This is wrong and we can fix it. Our school systems must immediately offer additional career paths to all students, including those of color. This report should be a red flag suggesting many of our students are falling through the cracks if they are not on a post secondary educational track. Do not point fingers or blame others, get involved. I must admit that I publish WA to do just that -- but I need your help. Talk to local businesses, work with the UW and Tech systems, speak to your Rotary Club -- just forward this news story to Facebook or LinkedIn -- with a positive comment suggesting we need to fix this --- we only fail if we do nothing.


The Obama administration on Monday formally launched a new consortium of colleges, employers and unions that is aimed at making it easier for students to turn their apprenticeship experience into academic credit.

Colleges participating in the consortium must agree to provide academic credit to students who complete certain apprenticeship programs. The institutions pledge to follow the credit recommendations made by third-party evaluators, who translate the skills learned during an apprenticeship into credit hours.

Vice President Joe Biden announced the initiative in remarks to community college presidents gathered here for the annual conference of the American Association of Community Colleges....

Ken Notes: We could lead the way here...


More Wisconsin companies are reversing the decades-old trend of manufacturing overseas, resulting in work returned to the United States as labor costs grow in China and other issues arise with foreign suppliers.

They're doing what's known as reshoring, moving production home as they realize it's sometimes cheaper and better to manufacture goods domestically than to chase cheap labor and other incentives in developing nations.

"I think we use all of the tools in our toolbox to create a business environment that's conducive to growing a company in Wisconsin as opposed to the Pacific Rim," said Reed Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Ken Notes: what a great opportunity for apprenticeship...


You may have read about Monica and Josiah Groth in the Healthy Hairdresser section of the March 2014 issue of MODERN SALON, but we wanted to feature the Groths in our e-letter as well, because there’s so much more to tell you about their wellness-centered approach to life and salon work. Monica is a cosmetologist, and Josiah is a massage therapist. Their “fume-free” salon, Back to Bliss, has locations in Colby and Marshfield, WI, and recently the salon became a state-licensed teaching facility. New cosmetology school graduates can apprentice in a fume-free environment at Back to Bliss before taking the state exam.

Ken Notes: This is interesting, using training and apprenticeship as a way of advancing new schools of thought, while not new (it's been done in the art world for hundreds of years), this may work in a number of industries. Since we publish WDNGreen, apprenticeships in the green building trades come to mind...


The Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay expects to begin training new doctors by July 2015.

Green Bay campus dean Dr. Matthew Hunsaker said Tuesday the college is on an aggressive track to raise the last half of $15 million, secure accreditation, hire staff and recruit students.

The Medical College of Wisconsin, based in suburban Milwaukee, announced in June 2012 that it would build a new campus in the Green Bay area as a way to boost the institution’s profile and improve health care education throughout the state. It also will open a campus in Wausau.

Ken Notes: Did you ever think about the fact that "apprenticeship" is one of the most significant parts of one of our most skilled professions??? It changes the entire perspective of the opportunities when apprenticeship is framed in this perspective...

Dairy company giant Schreiber Foods is expanding its footprint in Richland Center to help meet growing worldwide demand for yogurt, with millions already spent to update plant equipment, new jobs coming open and construction starting soon on a distribution center to allow increased production and shipping.

“If you look at the country, yogurt is growing a lot,” said Joe Steinocher, manager of one of the company’s two Richland Center yogurt plants. “In the last five years or so, we’ve spent over $100 million on these two facilities. So we’re trying to keep up with it.”

What’s more, about 20 people have been hired for the Richland Center plants since the beginning of this year and are in training now, Steinocher said, with 20 other jobs still open and another 10 to 15 positions that are to be added after the distribution center is finished in the fall. Types of jobs include equipment operators and maintenance professionals, and lab technicians.


Applications are now open for youth apprenticeship grant funding.

The program helps schools and other groups encourage kids to learn more about jobs through on the job experience. State youth apprenticeship director Cathy Crary says the program is aimed to school districts in partnership with local groups. "Secondary, post secondary institutions, we've got chambers of commerce involved, and there's a wide wide swath of technical colleges that are key players as well."

The programs aim to help students find another method of entering the workforce that isn't the traditional college route. "We all feel they need some kind of post-secondary continuing education, whether it's a credential or just keeping up in the workplace as far as skill sets go." Crary says groups will be able to help students find that nice through the program.

Under the program, students will need to graduate high school as well as spend 900 hours on the worksite they've chosen. "We hope that they're open and they have a portfolio that will show 'I not only graduated high school, but I've also earned some real life credentials' via the worksite work."

Applications can be found online at the DWD website. They're due Friday, April 25th.

Editors Note: Story from WTAQ link is to the DWD application site...


Press-Gazette Media talks to business leaders in its weekly conversation feature. This week, Lisa Schmelzer of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce discusses the chamber’s Youth Apprenticeship Program.

The program is in its 20th year in Brown County.

Q. What is the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Apprenticeship program?

A. The Youth Apprenticeship program is a statewide school-to-work initiative offered by the state Department of Workforce Development designed specifically for high school students. It integrates academic and technical instruction with paid, mentored work experience at an area business. The program is facilitated for 10 area school districts in and around Brown County by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.....

Q. Have you had to turn students away because of a lack of employers?

A. The program doesn’t turn students away; students start their industry-related classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in anticipation of the job placement. However, students who are not placed in an on-the-job training position are missing the most important and crucial components of the program: the opportunity to start building valuable employability and industry skills.

Editors Note: Great Read, Great Program, Great Partnership... Forward this one along...


Mary Burke, a former executive at the bicycle maker based in Waterloo, is touting her business savvy as she tries to force Gov. Scott Walker, a career politician, into early retirement. Burke's jobs plan, released last week, is peppered with references to the successful business founded by her father...
  • Expand the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program. Her plan notes that "it is not available to enough of our youth who could benefit from it." She's right about that. Wisconsin could learn much from Germany's robust apprentice system.

Editor Notes: WA does not take political sides, but it is very nice to see both the Governor and candidate touting the value of apprenticeship. If you meet candidates or elected officials, make sure you ask them about their support for apprenticeship.

Spurred by projected hiring requirements, local unions are in a rush to certify members in Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program before the first of three major projects breaks ground in fall.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s downtown tower is up first. The other projects, Irgens Partners LLC’s 833 East and Rick Barrett’s The Couture, both planned for East Michigan Street, are further down the pipeline, but some people already are worried about finding enough Milwaukee residents to meet potential local hiring requirements.

To qualify for the Residents Preference Program, according to city ordinance, a worker must live in Milwaukee and either have worked less than 1,200 hours in the previous year or not have worked at all within 30 days.

Jeff Fleming, spokesman for Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, said the Northwestern tower has a 40 percent RPP requirement, and it is too soon to say whether the other projects will include similar benchmarks.

Editor Notes: 40% local underemployed on a work crew is a tough number to get to. What if the use of apprentice labor could be used to offset that number or reduce the overall percentage.


...Wright, who was born in 1867 in Wisconsin, dropped out of the University of Wisconsin’s engineering department and entered an architectural firm as an apprentice at the age of 20. He started his career as an architect after moving to Oak Park at the age of 22...

Editor Notes: Interesting, one of the greatest architects of our time learned the trade as an apprentice!

As the building and construction industry shows definite signs of growth, Kiwi carpentry apprentices are being encouraged to step up and show they have what it takes to be the industry’s future leaders.

Entries for the Registered Master Builders Carters 2014 Apprentice of the Year are now open, giving carpentry apprentices the opportunity to win their share of more than $100,000 in prizes, as well as the coveted title of 2014 Apprentice of the Year.

Registered Master Builders chief executive Warwick Quinn says the competition is an excellent opportunity for apprentices to stand out from their peers....

Editors Note: This program gained world wide attention for the New Zealand Carpentry Apprentice Challenge and no doubt increased local awareness as well. WA will be happy to post your stories or award programs and winners. WA is read by over 500 media outlets and reporters. Send you news to Editor(at)WisconsinApprentice.com...


A business owner in Kaukauna doesn’t care if his workers live in Appleton, Wrightstown or New London. He doesn’t care if his suppliers are in Green Bay, Brillion or Fond du Lac.

And a high school student in Green Bay is OK with getting a two-year degree from a technical college and finishing his education at a University of Wisconsin school. It’s the outcome that matters.

In a global economy, arbitrary lines mean less and less to schools, businesses, workers and economic developers, and boundary-busting organizations are proliferating. They include New North, NEWERA and NEWREP. Also, NEW Manufacturing Alliance, North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance and Fox Cities Regional Partnership...

Editors Notes: Great thoughts, we do need to start thinking about competing globally, and this includes training for a global workforce. The idea of working together has been an uphill climb but the view from the top may just be worth it.


The Edgerton High School,s mission is to prepare students for college and a career. For the past two years we have been developing curriculum, and renovating our facilities, all with the continued support from industry and community to reflect that mission.

Our Technology Education facilities were, I am sad to say, the norm in the state with dark, dirty, dim and dangerous labs. In the welding lab electrical fires were not uncommon in the smoke filled atmosphere. The computer lab was equipped with ten-year-old computers, outdated software and twenty minute log in times during a forty-four minute class period. The woodworking lab was a dust filled fire hazard where safety zones were non-existent.

We have been able to make a leap forward by using STEM Academy's student centered facility design consultants and curriculum, 72% of our community supporting a technology upgrade referendum, and equipment donations from local industry such as Componex and Edgerton Gear. I am proud to say we are now able to give our students the facilities they need to be college and career ready.

Ken Notes: This was sent by a reader and sound like a great partnership!

New numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Wisconsin’s rate of job growth remained relatively stagnant in the last quarterly reporting period.

The state saw 28,351 private-sector jobs created between September 2012 and September 2013, a 1.2 percent increase over the year.

In the same time period, the numbers show a 2.1 percent increase in job growth at the national level. Wisconsin currently ranks 35th in the nation for the rate of job creation, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics...

Although Democrats in the Legislature have accused Republicans of a lack of action regarding job creation legislation, the Legislature passed three bills, all of which were passed unanimously or nearly unanimously, targeting job creation efforts, including grants for technical school or job trainingschool scholarships and apprenticeship grants...

Editors Note: Our sister publication www.WisconsinDevelopment.com has been advocating for years that Wisconsin legislators find bipartisan middle ground to move jobs, education, and training forward in Wisconsin. Let's hope that Wisconsin Apprentice can continue to shine a positive light on these issues as we move forward.  We are positive that our "numbers" will improve if we focus on creating a great workforce in the state...


Young men who are unable to find employment and vocational skills early in life are less likely to embark on a career path that ensures stability in adulthood. Many factors limit the options of those entering adulthood.

...In other states, notably Georgia and Wisconsin, school-based apprenticeship or "school-to-work" initiatives are proving successful in increasing rates of high school graduation and college enrollment, as well as higher levels of teenage employment, according to the report....

Editor Notes: It was nice to see Wisconsin mentioned in a positive light. We have the potential to lead a new initiative in apprenticeship and schools to work opportunities.


Apprentices work and train from day one, which helps employers address two problems at once: the current shortage of skilled workers and the ongoing need for a highly skilled workforce.

  • Apprentice training is a perfect blend of training coupled with work and productivity.
  • Apprenticeships allows you to tailor you employee training to fit your specific needs:  In your facility, on your equipment, in your environment, to your culture, meeting your standards and goals.
  • Apprenticeship provides you an internal career ladder and is a mechanism to promote your currently unskilled workers.

Editors Note: Use the social links below to forward this to companies in your email list. In fact subscribe them to WisconsinApprentice....


In 2005, Andy Hatch asked cheesemaker Mike Gingrich for a job.

Gingrich, co-founder of Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville, had been farming the Driftless region with Dan Patenaude since 1994. They began making Pleasant Ridge Reserve, an award-winning alpine style cheese, in 2000.

Gingrich "told me to go ripen on the vine somewhere else," Hatch recalled with a laugh.

So Hatch went to Europe and worked as an apprentice and cheesemaker in France, Italy, England, Norway and Ireland. In France, he learned to make Vacherin Mont-d'Or, a funky, runny raw milk cheese that became the basis of Uplands' famous Rush Creek Reserve

In 2007, Hatch came back to Uplands, finally ready to take over daily cheesemaking from Gingrich. This week, Uplands announced that Hatch and his farming partner, Scott Mericka, will take over for Gingrich and Patenaude at the farm 50 miles west of Madison.


In what local officials call a sign of the area’s robust recovery, private sector wages in Dane County jumped 9.3 percent over the past 12 months, the second largest increase in the nation.

Only San Mateo County, southwest of San Francisco, saw average wages grow at a faster rate, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week.

The Dane County wage numbers were included in the quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (CEW), the same that showed Wisconsin 35th among states in private sector job growth.


Apprenticeships have long played second fiddle to university. While university is the glamorous belle, an apprenticeship is the dowdy cousin, courted only by those who can aim no higher. But not all students should be tilting at university, and for many, apprenticeships should be a first choice, not a consolation prize.

The persistence of anti-apprenticeship prejudice is not for want of effort. Donald Trump and his U.K. equivalent Alan Sugar have done their best to inject some much-needed pizzazz into apprenticeship, and National Apprenticeship Week in the U.K. this month included the likes of Barlcays and PwC as apprenticeships moved from blue-collar to blue-chip.

At first sight the rebranding seems to be working. The U.K. has seen a doubling of the number of people on apprenticeships over the five years to 2012/2013...


For a German city boy who wanted to farm, the yearning was fed by internships in Germany, Canada and Wisconsin.

The dream of farming came true for Altfrid Krusenbaum, who now has his own grass-based dairy farm near Elkhorn. He's been in Wisconsin for 28 years. Today, one of his passions is helping other people who have that same passion to farm.

His 300-acre farm includes a herd of 140 dairy cows that calve seasonally in the spring so they can go out on the grass. He also grass-finishes 35 dairy steers for beef.

Krusenbaum, who spoke at a recent Columbia/Dodge winter grazing conference in Randolph, has been active in supporting the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers at the University of Wisconsin and the state's Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program.


Nick Steenwyk, of Sheboygan, is a computer aided design drafter in the bathing group for Kohler Company in Kohler. Like most CAD drafters, he performs tasks such as working with Creo software to create models and drawings of whirlpools.

Unlike most CAD drafters, Nick is currently a high school student at Sheboygan Christian High School. Through the youth apprenticeship program at Lakeshore Technical College, Steenwyk began working at Kohler Company...


Young men are more likely to drop out of high school and are less likely to aspire to college than their female peers. Young men who are poor, live in a city and are black or Latino are at even higher risk of unemployment and unplanned teen fatherhood than their peers in other demographics. As men’s earnings have stagnated, marriage has declined. It’s a vicious cycle: Being unmarried weakens men’s commitment to the workforce, but stagnation in earnings is contributing to the decline in marriage.

Robert Lerman — an economist at American University and fellow at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social policy research center in Washington, D.C. — has a solution. He believes bringing apprentice-based learning to America’s schools would both raise earnings and give young men the skills they need to be good husbands and fathers. Put boys in a real-world situation outside the classroom with skilled adults as mentors, Lerman says, and students have a chance to engage in on-the-job training in a wide range of fields from baking to boat-building, farming to architecture, public health to civil engineering.

Editors Note: A GREAT read. I never thought of apprenticeship in this context but it sure makes a great deal of sense. Please share this one....

Lincoln Electric has joined forces with Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) to open a new world-class welding demonstration and training facility, the first of its kind in Wisconsin.

Cleveland - Lincoln Electric has joined forces with Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) to open a new world-class welding demonstration and training facility, the first of its kind in Wisconsin.  

Officially known as the Lincoln Electric Southeastern Wisconsin Training Center at Waukesha County Technical College, the Pewaukee, Wisc.-based school is owned and operated by WCTC and sponsored by Lincoln Electric. The center was completely revamped and outfitted with the latest Lincoln Electric welding, cutting and fume control equipment and technology.

Editors Note: We try to find all the great stories like this one can miss a few so send us your stories and we will try to get them in. Editor (at) WisconsinApprentice.com


Industry stakeholders are regularly convened by the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards through standing State Trade Apprenticeship Advisory Committees. These committees advise the Bureau on the content, structure and delivery of apprenticeship training for their trade.  Each committee typically meets twice per year, in spring and fall.

Editors Note: A wealth of information here. We need to expand the list to include areas like Health Care, Marketing, Technology, Pre-Engineering... Just a thought...


Job training programs are failing to turn out enough skilled workers to fill job openings in the U.S., a phenomenon that puzzles some European companies that expand into the U.S.

President Obama freely admits that America needs to improve the way it trains workers. In a speech at a General Electric manufacturing plant in Wisconsin earlier this year, he said, "We gotta move away from what my labor secretary, Tom Perez, calls 'train and pray.' You train workers first and then you hope they get a job."

In other words, not enough Americans are training for the jobs industry needs to fill. Nationwide, about 4 million job openings are going unfilled, but 10 million people are unemployed, according to Labor Department statistics.

Editors Note: Nice interview from NPR at the bottom of article...


Americans import a lot of things from Germany, from beer to luxury cars. Now, some companies in states that are facing a shortage of skilled labor are hoping to import Germany’s centuries-old apprentice system.

These German-style apprenticeships let young people sidestep college — and college debt — while they learn a trade. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Tracy Samilton of Michigan Radio reports...

Editors Note: A great report! Michigan and Wisconsin are looking at these programs. We love this idea and the opportunities it affords the students.


Education in many parts of Wisconsin has turned into a two-hump camel.

Many young people are doing very, very well academically—with one of the humps on charts showing results. The other hump is composed of students doing very poorly in school. The numbers of B-minus and C students are down dramatically....

Editors Note: Not many solutions in this piece, although Common Core and the involvement of family makes some sense. Again we feel solutions are best found in a dual path at the secondary level as well as on the job training for displaced workers. It is interesting that  charter schools and vouchers have attracted so much press --- while proven school to work programs via apprenticeship used for hundreds of years only receive minimal attention.


This is a great overview of the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program. This link is to a PDF that should be a part of every administrator and business library...

It appears that the Wisconsin Assembly will act on a major education reform package that the leader of the other house has already rejected.

The Assembly's Education Committee has both a public hearing and a recommendation vote scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Supporters will try to advance a package that gives letter grades to schools -- and those which repeatedly fail must either close or become charter schools. Failing private schools with tax funded voucher students would not be able to take any more youngsters in the choice program.

Editors Note: I am confused, this died in the senate. Rather than grade schools lets ask them to identify programs that will improve their outcomes and the opportunities they afford their students. It is difficult to train both great plumbers and great surgeons using the same scale -- I do not want a surgeon installing my shower or vice-versa...


Poor-performing public schools would be forced to close under a sweeping accountability bill up for a public hearing before the Wisconsin state Assembly Education Committee.

The hearing Wednesday on the Republican-sponsored bill comes even as the Senate is taking a different approach to school accountability and not pursuing sanctions for poor performance...

Editors Note: Don't we need a much broader array of solutions before we threaten schools?


Everyone wants his or her child to succeed. In today’s world so many skills are essential to be a valuable asset to the workforce.

The top employability skills are a good work ethic, communication, and teamwork. How are students going to gain these valuable skills? Agricultural Education and the FFA are viable options.

Wisconsin FFA has programs from classroom education to internships that allow students from all backgrounds to benefit and gain the expertise needed to be a valuable asset to any area of the workforce...

Editors Note: We agree, what if the SAT asked - What is the impact of increasing corn content in the feed mix on a dairy herd?


In an effort to save money for cash-strapped Wisconsin districts, state lawmakers are considering ending a requirement that schools teach for 180 days a year or lose state funding.

The bill expected to win Senate approval Tuesday would allow schools to extend school days rather than force them to stay open later in the summer to make up days lost to weather closings and parent teacher conferences. Schools that don’t meet the hourly quota would still lose state aid under the bill.   ...more

Twelve University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate students will present their research at the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda to legislators Wednesday, according to a university press release.

Following opening remarks from UW System President Ray Cross at 9:30 a.m., students from various UW System schools will give their poster presentations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Cross said in the release he hopes to speak with as many students in attendance as possible.

The value of undergraduate research has broad applications on and off campus...


A city and school district-led effort to strengthen Madison's after-school offerings for school-age children will partner with national education players, the city of Madison announced Monday. 

The city of Madison and Madison School District's initiative Madison Out of School Time will partner with the U.S. Department of Education and the National League of Cities to conduct "community conversations about family engagement" that also will explore "successful national models that develop and sustain family leadership by helping families build and exercise power," according to the city's news release.  

Editors Note: The involvement of parents is a good idea, one of the questions should be how can we help your student get the job that they want and need.


Apprenticeship programs have the potential to help young men get better jobs and develop relationship abilities. Young men are more likely to drop out of high school and are less likely to aspire to college than their female peers. Young men who are poor, live in a city, and are black or Latino are at even higher risk of unemployment and unplanned teen fatherhood than their peers in other demographics. As men’s earnings have stagnated, marriage has declined. It’s a vicious cycle: Being unmarried weakens men’s commitment to the work force, but a stagnation in earnings is contributing to the decline in marriage...

“If we teach everything entirely in a classroom context, we’re not going to be as effective—even when it comes to academics,” Lerman tells me. “The reality is that people learn best—whether it’s cognitive or technical skills or even how to get along with others—in context.”...

In Wisconsin, youth apprenticeships are part of a statewide School-to-Work initiative. I spoke with Diane Kraus, the Dane County youth apprenticeship coordinator, about her program. Students at Dane County schools are invited to comprehensive information sessions during their sophomore year, at which they can learn about a range of apprenticeships in fields such as biotech, health, or information technology. The Dane County program sees applicants with backgrounds all over the map – “There’s no minimum GPA to come into the program,” Kraus says. It doesn’t matter whether a student’s GPA is near-failing or over 4.0. What does matter, she says, is that “they are interested in participating, make a commitment to work, and will be a good employee.”....

Ken Notes: We could not agree more. READ THIS, Forward This, Talk about this... It seems apprenticeship goes way beyond the job and workplace. What a great opportunity for our youth!

A Wausau West High School student project to build a remote-controlled snowblower has drawn attention from state officials who are promoting technical education and related careers.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson and Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy met the Wausau West students Wednesday during a tour to mark Career and Technical Education Month...

Kleefisch, Newson and Foy also stopped at CTECH Manufacturing in Weston to learn about its youth apprentice partnership with Wausau West. The state last year awarded $1.86 million in Youth Apprenticeship grants, including $225,599 to the North Central Wisconsin School-to-Career Partnership, a consortium that includes the Wausau School District.


The Obama administration’s call for a minimum wage raise to $10.10 an hour has created a stir with supporters and opponents divided on the benefits for workers and their employers.

Supporters of the proposed measure say it would reduce poverty and could make a big difference in the economy because low-wage workers will have more money to spend on basic goods and services.

A recent Congressional Budget Office report claims it would help low-paid workers. It suggested the proposed increase could lift 900,000 families out of poverty and raise the incomes of 16.5 million workers.

The CBO report also supported the fears of opponents. It suggested raising the minimum wage would hurt job growth and force some employers to lay off workers because they would not be able to afford the additional pay.

In Kenosha County, a living hourly wage for a single person would be $9.86 per hour, according to a study conducted by Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. An hourly wage of $5.21 would place that person at the poverty level.

The federal imposed minimum, as it stands, is $7.25.

Here’s a look at the cases for and against raising the minimum wage, as the Obama administration is urging.

The case for:.....

Ken Notes: We are not taking a position here (minimum wage) but regarding apprenticeship we believe companies should be given some latitude regarding compensation. There is an investment as well as a cost associated with apprenticeship for the employer.

This would be a great opportunity for assistance in the form of health insurance, liability, and compensation for skilled workers providing training. These are programs that could have a HUGE impact on our youth as well as transitional workers. We will continue to encourage the legislature to look at these opportunities and the potential impact they may have. We could also use some feedback on this idea.


Many local employers are actively working to develop our future workforce by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program.

YA allows high school juniors and seniors to work part-time in a career field they are considering for their future, while taking courses that support that career direction. Students learn from experts in the field and gain skills necessary for success in the world of work. The employers who hire these students benefit because they get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry. Apprenticeship, or YA, program.

Several employers in our area who support YA agreed to share their thoughts on the program:

“It is our pleasure at Bell Tower Residence to work in partnership with the Merrill Senior High School’s Apprenticeship Program,” said Sister Mary Anne Rose, director of resident services. “Mentoring the youth has been a win-win process for Bell Tower Residence and our residents for many years. Many students are interested in pursuing some type of career in health care. Getting experience working at an assisted living community helps the students make some important decisions regarding their future....

Donna Schulz is the regional coordinator for the Youth Apprenticeship Program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

Ken Notes: Donna and other have a passion for their programs and we all need to share the goals and objectives as well as the success stories with other across the state.  If you can't find an outlet for your "story" send it to us -- we can...


Youth Apprenticeship (YA) integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries. Local programs provide training based on statewide youth apprenticeship curriculum guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Students are instructed by qualified teachers and skilled worksite mentors. Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, in a youth apprenticeship related instruction class, and are employed by a participating employer under the supervision of a skilled mentor.

"YA would not exist without the commitment by local employers to develop the next generation of workers."

Ken notes: A link from the DWD website for employers. You can use our social links for share this on facebook or linkedIn as well as email it to colleagues.

A proposal put forth by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad aimed at creating more apprenticeships has some community colleges concerned they will be cut out of the process to establish workforce training programs.

In January, Branstad called for tripling funding for Iowa’s apprenticeships program, citing an often-mentioned need for skilled workers. In addition to those funding changes, the proposal calls for administrative changes to the state’s 260F code, a subsection of workforce training programs...

While none of the community colleges contacted by the Register said they were against more apprenticeships funding, some took issue with how the money would be allocated under the original proposal.

To help pay for the program, the original proposal called for shifting some money away from business training and putting it toward apprenticeships.

Amended versions of the House and Senate version alleviate some of those concerns....   ...more

Tim Golick, 31, is an apprentice machinist at Hamill Manufacturing in Trafford, Pa.

Q. You’re a 31-year-old apprentice. Does that mean you got a late start in the manufacturing field?

A. Yes. I was in construction for 10 years, and I really enjoyed it. But it wasn’t steady enough, and it caused a lot of wear and tear on my body. I still miss some things about that job, such as working outside.

Why did you decide on the manufacturing field?

It’s a big part of our country’s history....

...Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’m starting college courses in the spring on my own dime. As much as I love this work, by then I hope to work in an office, drink coffee at my desk and wear a collared shirt. I’d like to plan the manufacturing process and let someone else do the actual work. That’s the beauty of manufacturing. If you put the work in, you can climb the ladder.


The growing need for skilled manufacturing workers is leading to a revival in apprenticeships in Madison, Milwaukee and the Fox Valley area, but companies in other regions are struggling to find enough qualified people.

The state's construction industry has started to rebound, creating demand for skilled workers across all construction trades, the Wisconsin State Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1h2kT6C ) in a story published Sunday. And when construction companies need workers, they often turn to the state's apprenticeship program to fill the void.

The issue is, the economic downturn has taken its toll on the system. As construction projects dried up, established journeyman workers went elsewhere, and there was no one to replace them.

Now that the economy is turning around, firms are finding a smaller pool of workers to choose from.

"The problem the last several years has been a shortage...

Ken Notes: this is easy to fix this -- but it will take a team effort Please share this article with those who can help...

If Donald Trump hosted “Apprentice Wisconsin,” he’d have to change his catchphrase from “You’re fired” to “You’re hired.”

As the economy slowly pulls out of its funk, the dormant construction industry is starting to experience a revival. And as construction cranes sprout up in the skyline, the demand for skilled workers across the spectrum of construction trades also is ascending.

“The problem the last several years has been a shortage of work for contractors in the construction industry,” said Wayne Belanger of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin. “Now, it’s a shortage of workers. It’s critical.”

And when construction companies need skilled workers, they turn to the state’s venerable apprenticeship program to fill the void.

Wisconsin’s apprenticeship program, founded in 1911, was the first of its kind in the nation and led to the creation of the state’s technical school system...

Ken Notes: There is a theme this week the time is now to move programs forward!


Port Angeles, WA — Contractors on all city public works projects totaling $1 million or more will have to use apprentices, the City Council has decided.

The ordinance, which will take effect in a week, was approved unanimously Tuesday after Councilman Dan Gase told of his concerns about the city creating more rules for contractors.

The ordinance will require city contractors on large projects to fill no less than 15 percent of the project’s total labor hours with workers in state-approved apprenticeship programs...

Ken Notes: This make more sense that the wage requirements often required by communities in Wisconsin which often deny learning opportunities for unskilled workers. I know several companies that will not use entry level workers on projects where  they have to pay higher wages. This benefits no one and increases the cost of projects needlessly. The apprentice requirement would ensure future skilled worker and the higer wages that come with those skills.


Some young girls do chores around the house. Erika Glapinski did apprentice-level plumbing.

“I put together regulators for heating components, lots of things girls my age probably hadn’t heard of,” said Glapinski, who helped out at home until high school, when she worked summers with her father, John Glapinski, owner of JMJ Plumbing Inc., Franklin. “I think at the time, I probably didn’t know any better. I would just have fun helping him and probably didn’t understand that other girls my age maybe were just playing with Barbies and girlie things.”

Those experiences led Glapinski into engineering and project management studies. Since graduating nearly four years ago, Glapinski first worked as a site engineer and now is a project manager with Janesville-based J.P. Cullen & Sons Inc.


WITH smiles from ear to ear the 2014 apprentice of the year nominees gathered at the Fleet, Air, Arm Museum on Friday for the Illawarra and South East NSW Training Awards regional launch. An apprentice with Shoalhaven City Council, Blake Aitken is a contender for the prestigious title of apprentice of the year and said he was completely blown away by the nomination. “It’s pretty cool to get recognized....

Ken Notes: if Chambers, Schools, or communities in Wisconsin wish to recognize there apprentices or companies sponsoring programs WisconsinApprentice will be happy to serve as a media partner...


Students at Huntingdonshire Regional College are about to put their heads in the Lions’ Den in a bid to find an apprenticeship and to learn more about the world of work....

The Lions’ Den event, which members of the public can attend, works like the BBC TV show Dragons’ Den where participants try to sell their ideas to a panel of experts, and takes place during National Apprenticeship Week.

College principal Susanne Stent said: “The aim of the Lions’ Den is to give our students and local community the opportunity to speak with local employers, find out about the different opportunities available in local industries and gain experience in preparing and presenting a pitch to a panel of experts....

Ken Notes: Does the US have a national apprentice week, it is a big deal in england??


Michigan imports a lot of things from Germany, from craft beer to high-tech appliances.

Now, the state's trying to import Germany's highly successful apprentice system.

The hope is that employer-paid apprenticeships could address two problems: high-skilled jobs that go unfilled – and four-year college degrees that are becoming unaffordable.

One such program is already underway, teaching students how to manage automated assembly lines.

“Setting the example”

I'm in a lab at Henry Ford Community College today, watching a group of apprentices try to fix a deliberately broken automated assembly line.


The week is a key event for Lantra, the sector skills council for land-based and environmental sector, who have worked closely with industry to develop a new Apprenticeship framework. Launched in 2013, the Higher Apprenticeship in Agriculture Level 4 was created as a result of requests from farmers who wanted to develop their workforce to a higher skill level, encourage business growth and close skills gaps...

Ken Notes: England again, but it seems to me ag apprenticeships would be a nice fit for Wisconsin...

Contractors should expect more opportunities for work in 2014.

They also should expect to struggle getting that work done.

Edward Zarenski, estimating executive for Providence, Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Co., said as bidding opportunities increase, construction companies that take on more work will be less productive because they will be forced to rely on inexperienced workers.

According to a report Zarenski published in December, construction employment nationwide is “far worse than the unemployment figures would lead you to believe.”

“Currently,” according to the report, “we are just barely above a 15-year low.”

Construction employment nationwide peaked in April 2006, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when the industry employed 7,726,000 workers. By November 2013, 5,851,000 of those workers remained...

Ken Notes: Demand is up and this is why, 2 Million jobs, good jobs, career jobs...


Photos and keynote presentations from the 26th Biennial Wisconsin Apprenticeship Conference are now available online! The Conference was overwhelmingly positive - despite the frigid winter and economic climates - from the direct experiences of more than 400 participants to the eager interest of high schools across our state to Governor Walker's support of apprenticeship. 


February 13, 2014

UW-Extension, UW System and WEDC Ideadvance Initiative is first such gap fund for UW entrepreneurs statewide

MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) have created a $2 million seed fund that UW-Extension will administer to help commercialize technology and ideas developed at UW campuses statewide.

UW-Extension and its partners announced the Ideadvance Seed Fund today at a news conference in the State Capitol attended by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and other state officials.

Faculty, staff and students need access to this type of funding so that they can pursue their business dreams here in Wisconsin, said Gov. Scott Walker. This new partnership bridges the gap from an idea to the creation of a business and initial investment.

While Ideadvance is the first gap fund in UW history, there are more than 60 similar university-focused funds at 40 educational institutions nationwide, according to a recent report from Innovosource....


Turn raw talent into commercial success with Apprenticeships. We take a look at the benefits.

The economic recovery may be gathering momentum, but huge challenges still remain for businesses trying to grow. Skills shortages have become a serious threat to many areas of business - yet many of you reading this may not realise that one way to build solid foundations for the future and harness fresh talent is through taking on apprentices.

1. Increased productivity
2. Fresh ideas and enthusiasm
3. Loyalty
4. Availability
5. Grants and financial support
6. Economic benefits
7. Growing your business with apprentices is easy!


It sounds almost too good to be true, as if there must be some string attached: vocational training, a free associate degree and a wage, all on the path to a career in highly skilled manufacturing and engineering.

It is, however, all true and the only string attached is that it’s reserved for people with a commitment to quality. Math skills and being good with your hands wouldn’t hurt.

In 2012, Grob Machine Tools division revamped its long-standing apprenticeship program to include an associate degree through Rhodes State College...

Ken Notes: We need to make Wisconsin businesses aware of opportunities through apprenticeship. Forward this article to businesses in your community and encourage the to subscribe.  

More than a month after an apprentice program ended, the CTA and ATU Local 308 have agree to bring it back, and give employment opportunities to ex-offenders, people completing substance-abuse programs, victims of spousal abuse and others.

The 65 apprentices no doubt will help the CTA tackle its ongoing problem with dirty rail cars. The issue for the union was the lower pay and lack of benefits for the apprentices. But perhaps the union gave in when the CTA asked motormen to start picking up garbage in the cars at the end of their run. I don't really know if that rule has been rescinded. Maybe iBill can let us know.

In a statement, the CTA noted the reach of the apprenticeship programs:


A Stoddard Wisconsin man has been chosen to join artist John Pugh in California to learn the three-dimensional trompe l’oeil technique being used for the mural planned in downtown La Crosse.

Robert Mini will spend six weeks as an apprentice at Pugh’s studio in Truckee, Calif., as Pugh works on the La Crosse mural, which is slated to be installed on a Pump House Regional Arts Center wall this spring.

Mini is a foreman with Whole Trees, a construction company that incorporates round, unmilled timber in place of steel in its building designs. The community apprenticeship is part of the National Endowment for the Arts grant the city and arts center received for the mural project.

Ken Notes: The City of La Crosse Arts Board received a prestigious National Endowment of the Art 'Our Town' Grant toward the creation of a mural downtown La Crosse.


 Wisconsin Cheese Originals seeks applications for its 2014 Beginning Cheesemaker Scholarship.

The $2,500 award will help one aspiring cheesemaker earn a Wisconsin cheesemaking license and make new artisan, farmstead or specialty cheeses.

Wisconsin is the only state in the nation to require cheesemakers to be licensed, a lengthy process that can take as long as 18 months. It requires attendance at five cheesemaking courses and 240 hours of apprenticeship with a licensed Wisconsin cheesemaker.

Applications for the scholarship are available at www.WisconsinCheeseOriginals.com. The deadline is March 20. The winner will be chosen by a review committee and notified by April 7.

For more information, contact Jeanne Carpenter at 608-358-7837 or Jeanne@wordartisanllc.com.

Ken Notes: This is brilliant! Imagine if every company or association offered a small scholarship and an opportunity for apprenticeship to even one student interested in a trade! Forward this to businesses in your area in fact send us their names and we will subscribe them to Wisconsin Apprentice. Share this idea, send Jeanne a thank you note.


Evanston Illinois will launch a pre-apprenticeship program to train residents for unionized construction jobs, including those on Northwestern's campuses.

In a news conference at the end of the month, the city will announce details about the program, said Joe McRae, director of parks, recreation and community services and deputy city manager. The program is the brainchild of Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who has discussed the project with University President Morton Schapiro.

The initiative dovetails with the mayor's efforts to create more job opportunities for Evanston residents, especially youth. Contractors have observed requirements to hire certain percentages of minorities but have neglected to prioritize hiring of local residents for jobs, Tisdahl told The Daily....

Ken Notes: Attention UW you could do this! What a great idea and I am sure that some of the construction companies on campus would participate.  Forward  this to UW officials and see if we can generate any interest. Madison schools should be all over this idea. I will also present this and other ideas to your group or club as a conversation starter.


In the heart of one of Wisconsin's most conservative counties, Democratic President Barack Obama on Thursday identified a worker training program that he said could be a model for the country.

In the wake of Tuesday night's State of the Union address, Obama visited a handful of cities across the country, including an appearance at General Electric's Waukesha Gas Engines plant.

In a speech lasting just under 25 minutes, the president echoed messages of his economic and domestic agenda from the State of the Union address. His remarks in Waukesha focused on job training, raising the minimum wage, equal pay for women and health care reform, in addition to bigger picture messages about the U.S. economy.

Quotes from the speech:

So thats a challenge for workers, and its a challenge for companies who want to build things here and want to bring jobs back from overseas.  As one of the top executives here put it, Brian White, If were going to have a manufacturing base in this country, weve got to find a way to have manufacturing employees.

Now, the good news is that folks across Wisconsin have set out to do just that.  This plant is a great example of that.  Thats why were here in addition to just you seem like very nice people.

But were here because youre doing some really good stuff that everybody else needs to pay attention to.  Together with a local high school, you started a youth apprenticeship program.  So students spend four hours a day in the classroom, four hours on the shop floor; after two years they leave with both a high-school diploma and a technical certificate.

Then, you set up an adult apprenticeship program, so that folks can earn while they learn.  Youre working with partners from the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, to Mayor Barretts manufacturing partnership, to more than 50 other employers big and small across the region in order to spot job openings months in advance and then design training programs specifically for the openings.  You even helped set up a schools to skills program with a local business alliance to bring kids to factories and help inspire them to pursue careers in manufacturing.

And I just want to make a quick comment on that.  A lot of parents, unfortunately, maybe when they saw a lot of manufacturing being offshored, told their kids you dont want to go into the trades, you dont want to go into manufacturing because youll lose your job.  Well, the problem is that what happened a lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career.  But I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.  Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree I love art history.  So I dont want to get a bunch of emails from everybody.   Im just saying you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education as long as you get the skills and the training that you need."


Oregonians who complete apprenticeship programs would be part of the states high school and college graduation goals, under a bill lawmakers advanced Monday.

In 2011, lawmakers created an education goal for the state called 40-40-20. The goal was that by 2025 all Oregonians would earn a high school diploma or equivalent, 40 percent of them will go onto receiving an associates degree or a post-secondary credential while the other 40 percent will hold at least a bachelors degree.

Ken Notes: What a great program! Wisconsin could do this, we have the resources, our teachers are great, and we have a post secondary system second to none. I even wrote and article about funding this in 2007 -

Here's a new idea for making college affordable


In the United States, high school students are often told they need a four-year college degree to get a good job. That can mean racking up a lot of debt.

But in Germany, students can choose a paid apprenticeship. Now, Michigan officials hope to import the system here.

The apprentice system in Germany is extensive. You can become a land surveyor, a bank clerk, a robotics technician... so it's not hard to find someone who's done it.

Ken Notes: Or Wisconsin??? I do not know about the 60% mark but I would love to see us shoot for 20 or 30%...


Sun Prairie Utilities employee Eric Burkhalter recently graduated from a three-year industrial apprenticeship as an electric metering technician through the Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids.

Burkhalter was one of six apprentices from utilities around the state who completed apprenticeships and received diplomas on Jan. 23, 2014 at the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin/Rural Electric Cooperatives Joint Superintendents Conference in Wisconsin Dells. He follows substation technician, Richard Neff, in becoming the second SPU employee to complete the apprenticeship.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin Technical College System will celebrate Career and Technical Education Month in Wisconsin during February, by highlighting the wide range of exciting opportunities available to youth in the state who wish to explore their career options and the benefit of those programs to Wisconsin industry and communities.

Many of those opportunities exist right here locally, including for Whitnall School District students. The governments Carl Perkins Grant and Youth Apprenticeship Grant fund the consortiums activities. While this is a small source of school funding for its members, it more importantly provides off-site career and technical educational options not available at their home school. For example, Whitnall students can participate in Greenfield High Schools pre-engineering program, Project Lead the Way, or the Assistant Childcare Teacher program, or take Cisco-Computer Networking at St. Francis High School. Whitnalls career and technology offerings include AutoCad, an electronic drafting class; construction and home improvement courses; various business technology and family consumer science offerings and medical terminology.

In addition, the consortium offers the Youth Apprenticeship Program, which allows students to take courses that will prepare them for a career in a given field. In conjunction with coursework, 20 consortium students are employed in a related occupation. The workplace mentor works with the student and school to develop the students technical and personal skills. After completing the skill competencies and the required hours, students earn a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency from the Department of Workforce Development.


After years of lagging behind other districts, the Youth Apprenticeship program in Oshkosh is getting a push from the school district and chamber of commerce to offer high school students work experience in a variety of careers.

The Oshkosh Area School District hasn’t historically had a strong apprenticeship program, because the curriculum wasn’t developed enough to meet their requirements or there weren’t employers to sponsor them.

Ken Notes: There is a nice video at the link!

Ken Notes: We are working on a resource library of best practices and apprenticeship resources in the state. Donna Schulz, Youth Apprenticeship Regional Coordinator at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau sent us this data on their program. Drop us an email and we will put together a data base of sites, links and tools to help your program! Thanks Donna...

Youth Apprenticeship at Northcentral Technical College

Finding and keeping great employees can be a challenge, but there’s a resource right here in Wausau to help you do just that. Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship Program gives you direct access to high school juniors and seniors serious about starting and building their careers with great
companies like yours.

Youth Apprenticeship is a one- or two-year program for high school juniors and seniors, combining academic and technical classroom instruction with a paid work experience. Youth Apprenticeship gives an employer direct access to a pipeline of great employees...


At Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, our members tell us that finding entry-level employees that have the necessary soft and hard skills has become increasingly difficult. For each job opening, dozens of applicants are screened but few become valued employees. This can be a costly and frustrating process, but RAMAC offers an opportunity for local employers.

With the Racine Community School-to-Career Partnership Youth Apprenticeship Program, in coordination with RAMAC, Racine Unified School District, and the State of Wisconsin, high school students in Racine Unified have an opportunity to gain valuable job skills and work experience before graduating. The Youth Apprenticeship Program supports students with related school-based, classroom learning and work-based, job-site learning in their chosen career pathway. This takes place at the same time the employer is providing the opportunity for the student to apply and develop soft and hard skills that are needed to be successful in our local workforce. The student and employer both gain from working together on common competencies and goals...

Ken Notes: It is these stories that need to be shared with the rest of the state!


Whatever appeared to be coming together a week ago seemed to be reduced to splinters in the last few days when it came to pursuit of ideas for low performing schools in Milwaukee.

I think it's contagious and my brain has splintered into thoughts about the fairly tumultuous recent developments. So instead of a single column, I offer fragments....

Ken Notes: With all the discontentment over performance, standards, vouchers, and accountability -- you would think that advancing an idea like apprenticeship and school to work transitional programs would help establish common ground. This could be a bipartisan pro business agenda with a focus on creating a strong workforce. We need to return Wisconsin to the national spotlight for doing great things.


In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for "more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life." I couldn't agree more, because I've seen firsthand the success of apprenticeships at companies across the nation in my first six months as secretary of labor. One example is Tampa Electric: I knew the minute I walked in that this was a model from which others could learn. Tampa Electric apprentices make around $32 per hour while mastering the electrical journeyman trade, with the opportunity to gain college credits at the same time. They earn while they learn, and once the program is complete, they can do a variety of electrical-related jobs. Average starting salary: $70,000 a year, plus the potential for overtime....   ...more

How would you like to receive a paycheck while being trained in a high-skill occupation that has a starting salary around $50,000? If that sounds appealing, you might want to consider participating in a Registered Apprenticeship program.

What is an apprenticeship?

Most Americans are familiar with the concept of an apprenticeship: the apprentice, or trainee, works for a period of time under the guidance of a mentor or expert in a field, gradually accumulating knowledge, skills and hands-on competency. Another way to think of it would be the opportunity to earn while you learn in a structured environment....


A major new research initiative at the University of Chicago will examine and develop ways in which public education can help urban children become more highly skilled and more successful as adults.

Funded by the Hymen Milgrom Supporting Organization, the “Successful Pathways from School to Work,” initiative will support research on making public education in Chicago and urban centers effective in bringing students successfully to the work place and to productive lives. The Hymen Milgrom Supporting Organization, created with a $17-million gift from the estate of Hymen T. Milgrom, AB, Accounting, ‘35, was established to help achieve this goal under the leadership of the University of Chicago...


DELAVAN — The once-art-room-turned-staff-lounge at Delavan-Darien High School got a facelift thanks in large part to the creative minds and talent of students.

Three groups of students — those in Cabinetry Construction, Interior Design and Art Club— are carrying out a partnership project to redesign and remodel the space.

Until the project started, the lounge still looked much like an art room — albeit with a microwave and refrigerator. It has since become a much more inviting place for high school staff to take enjoy their lunch or unwind after school.

Interior Design, a new course offered for the first time this year at DDHS, is taught by veteran teacher Terri Brown. She said she heard from several staff members that the lounge space wasn’t comfortable or ideal for its intended use.

So, she set off to see how to make it better. A student-led project was soon born with the help of fellow teachers Mike Fellin (technology education) and Rachel Pfarr (art).

“We’re using the staff as our ‘clients,’” Brown said. “We’re surveying them for function of the room, what the mood should be, what areas should be set for what function, such as food preparation, eating space and an area for socializing and relaxing.”

Students in Interior Design have created the design plans for the space. Cabinetry students have agreed to build what’s needed, such as an already-made island cabinet (created from recycled materials) and an in-progress eight-foot wooden dining table. Art Club students will put on the final decorative touches, which will include artistically decorating ceiling tiles with inspirational quotes and replicating Van Gogh’s Sunflowers on a wall opposite an older student-created replica of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The room also has a new blue-and-gold color scheme with new paint on the walls and a more user-friendly food preparation area.

Some ideas students came up with, Brown said, included having display cases for student work, softer lighting, and new accents, such as rugs and wall coverings.

The room has no outside windows and three doors that challenged the students to work around, but “the kids are going to bring it all together into something much nicer,” said Brown, used the project as a final exam for the students in the first semester.

“They kids have really embraced this over a paper and pencil test,” she said. “They’re thrilled to have people put enough faith in them to design and build something that is both pleasing and usable.”

Brown expects the work in the lounge will be finished by the end of the school year.

Ken Notes: Thanks for forwarding this our way!


PROVIDENCE  RI - Whenever Darch Hood drives by Brown Universitys Granoff Center with her older son, she tells him how she helped build the eye-catching structure.

Thats the one I point to, and my son says, I know, I know, she said.

The three-story center for the arts on College Hill will always stand out in Hoods memory because it was the first she worked on as an apprentice insulation installer after graduating four years ago from Building Futures, a Providence-based program that trains people in the construction trades.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The U.S. Labor Department says there are nearly four million people in America who've been unemployed for six months or more. That number has remained stubbornly high, even as the overall unemployment rate has fallen. Yesterday, President Obama met with U.S. business leaders and urged them not to overlook qualified job applicants ju

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: It's a sad fact of the modern job market, or as President Obama puts it, a cruel Catch 22.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Folks who have been unemployed the longest often have the toughest time getting back to work....


Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson congratulated Ocean Spray on its early success as a new partner in the Wisconsin Apprenticeship program and its decision to sponsor more apprentices in the proven on-the-job training program that employers increasingly see as a skills gap solution.

"Just six months ago, we welcomed Ocean Spray into the Apprenticeship program, and today, we applaud Ocean Spray on a great start and its expansion of the program to include more apprentices," Secretary Newson said.

Ocean Spray began working with the training program last August. Its apprentices training to be maintenance technicians make up significant number of the participants in the program.

Plant Director Tim Peoples says Ocean Spray's ability to expand its markets and products is directly tied to its ability to find employees with the right skills.

Ken Notes: ...as do we Thank You!

Theres never been a better time to be an apprentice. Apprenticeships deliver work for young people and adults, giving candidates the chance to earn while they learn in a real job; gaining a qualification and experience of work in an industry.

At any one time, there are up to 20,000 apprenticeships available on Apprenticeships.org.uk and they are becoming ever more popular. In the academic year 2012-13, more than half a million apprentices began their training....

Ken Notes: We can learn a great deal from others in the area of apprenticeship. WA will try to stimulate the conversation, please share this with a friend, post to your LinkedIn page or just like it in Facebook....


It is certainly timely, as our economy emerges blinking into the light from a long, dark tunnel.

During the boom, the gaps in our labour force were exposed as never before. That growth spurt will not return any time soon, but the surge in emigration raises the prospect of a re-emergence of skills shortages.

The apprenticeship review group was chaired by the Labour Court chairman, Kevin Duffy, a man with deep knowledge of the grassroots as a former union official.

Early on in the report, a study entitled Americas forgotten middle-skills jobs is highlighted...

Ken Notes: Interesting Ireland is talking about the US...


Today's workforce demands highly skilled, highly trained construction workers. Apprenticeship is a system of work-based learning that combines supervised, on-the-job training plus classroom instruction. This allows the Apprentice to earn a good income while they learn a skilled trade!

Wisconsin has a long and proud tradition of apprenticeship training. In cooperation with industry, labor, government, and education, apprenticeship programs assist in developing the highly skilled workers needed today. You too can become an Apprentice right out of high school!

Ken Notes: Do you want to highlight your Apprenticeship Program, send it our way!

Making purchases worth 15,000 on behalf of the Cabinet Office, organising the head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake's diary and giving advice in the House of Lords these were some of the tasks given to one 20-year-old civil service apprentice.

Kemet Hawthorne Pink, a young former retail assistant from Broadstairs, Kent, was one of 100 school-leavers who made it on to the government's apprenticeship scheme for 18- to 21-year-olds last year.

Applications for this year's fast-track apprenticeship programme open today (28 January) and run until 19 February. The number of places has doubled to 200, but it's still a highly competitive scheme. More than 2,000 people applied last year, of whom 300 made it through to be assessed for the final shortlist.

Ken Notes: Interesting Apprenticeship in government, as a former mayor I love this idea. In fact I wish many of our legislators had hands on experience with how government functions prior to getting elected! Also just and observation there are 10 times more articles from Europe on apprenticeship than from the US????


The Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Employment and Wage Report issued Thursday by Iowa Workforce Development shows that job training via apprenticeships is yielding impressive results.

IWD analysis shows that occupation by occupation, workers trained in apprenticeship programs in most cases earn wages significantly higher than workers in the same occupation who only earn a high school diploma or use other types of one- and two-year training programs.

This report shows what weve always known: apprenticeships work, IWD director Teresa Wahlert said in a news release. Not only do they provide training to address the middle-skills gap, they also provide individuals with on-the-job training to a new career.

Ken Notes: Closer to home....


For 5 years, students at EarthDance Farms has been teaching the skills of organic agriculture production and small business planning at the historic Mueller Farm in Ferguson. The non-profit educates and provides resources for anyone seeking to start their own agrarian endeavor.

This year, EarthDance is also providing students the opportunity to learn the many techniques of eco-friendly gardening. The idea is to provide inspiration and practical tools for people who want to grow food at home or in other small spaces. The Farm and Garden Apprenticeship runs from May through September and includes presentations by area experts as well as field trips to nearby farms.

Program tuition is $750, which can be paid in multiple installments or reduced through available scholarships. Apprentices receive a weekly CSA share of the vegetables they help to grow, valued at $600.

Ken Notes: Now I know we could do this is Wisconsin! With the grow and buy local initiates and rural schools this should be obvious...


Thirteen local manufacturers are getting some financial help from the state of Michigan's Skilled Trades Training Fund for apprenticeships. Kinexus secured over $47,000 in grant money to be split up, supplementing the costs for 45 trainees to upgrade their skills in tool and die, mold making or CNC machining. Corey Carolla is the Director of Business and Industry for Kinexus and worked with the state on the grant...   ...more

In the rapidly changing Tanzanian economy, skilled labour is in high demand but in short supply locally and largely dependent on expatriate craftsperson predominantly from the neighbouring countries.

Therefore, the need to improve the quality of skills training in Tanzania was and still is of the utmost priority. In 2007 during a state visit to Germany, President Jakaya Kikwete made a request to Hamburg for assistance to introduce Dual Training System in Tanzania....

Around 60 per cent of all young Germans learn a trade by doing an apprenticeship through the dual system of vocational education and training.

The system covers training in over 350 professions in a wide range of skills. The dual system ensures that during training young people are employed and learn, not only a skill in the world of work, but also the ethics of work itself. This also ensures that the training remains closely adapted to the needs and demands of the industry.

Ken Notes: 60% WOW! -- Lessons from Germany not to mention Tanzania!!!


Governor Scott Walker today urged employers in search of skilled workers as well as other  workforce partners to attend the 26th Biennial Apprenticeship Conference January 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," Governor 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, over two dozen workshops, and an Apprenticeship Expo with interactive displays that are geared to teens and young adults.

The state workforce development department says there's been some significant growth in the state's apprenticeship programs.

The department has seen a 31 percent increase in apprenticeship contracts in 2013. "Wisconsin's economy is improving, employers are hiring and increasingly taking advantage of our Wisconsin Apprenticeship program so that workers have the right skills," Secretary Reggie Newson said. "The unemployed and underemployed also see this proven on-the-job training program as one way to get a good job. The numbers last year show it. We saw growth in all three major trade sectors, construction, manufacturing and services, the best we've growth we've seen in three years."

State apprenticeship standards director Karen Morgan says those in the programs already have jobs, which is important. "As they progress through the apprenticeship program, their income goes up. So why they complete the program, they are generally earning family supporting wages." And it's not just industrial and construction jobs that are seeing apprenticeships these days. "Barber/cosmetology is one of our big programs, we have apprenticeship programs in protective services, and we have a programs in the utility industry."


One key element to a competitive workforce almost entirely overlooked in the U.S. is apprenticeships. These days, American businesses typically want someone elsetrade schools, community colleges, universities or even the federal governmentto train their future employees. If potential future job seekers haven't been provided with the training they need, many businesses expect job seekers to take all the responsibility on themselves, often taking on serious debt without any guarantee of future employment.   ...more

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is urging employers to look at using the states apprenticeship program to address the skills gap.

The state is hosting the 26th biennial apprenticeship conference from Jan. 26 through Jan. 28 in the Wisconsin Dells. Sponsored by the Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council, students from across the state will be able to learn more about career opportunities the Wisconsin apprenticeship can offer.

The conference will feature national speakers, 24 workshops, and an apprenticeship expo with interactive displays geared towards teens and young adults.


The state of Wisconsin has seen a 34 percent increase in its apprenticeship program and it’s easy to see why, especially with so many students coming out of four-year colleges still unemployed.

And Will Petrowski, 19, of Racine, is a perfect example of how high school seniors are starting to understand the value of alternatives to going to four-year colleges.

For Petrowski, the math behind going to a four-year college didn’t add up for him. Sure, he had a scholarship that would have paid $20,000 of the $40,000 tuition bill for a private school, but he really didn’t want to go $80,000 to $100,000 into debt in the hopes of landing a $40,000-a-year job.


Hundreds of high school students from communities across southern Wisconsin will get a close-up
look at the state-of-the-art, challenging and high-paying career opportunities that Wisconsin Apprenticeship can offer. The students will attend a special Apprentice Expo on January 27 during the 26th Biennial Apprenticeship Conference in Wisconsin Dells.
More than 25 training partners including unions, employers, utilities and merit shop organizations will host handson, interactive displays for more than 50 occupations involve apprenticeship to train skilled workers. The occupations cover construction, manufacturing, utility, service and agriculture sectors.
Close to 600 students from schools in central and southern Wisconsin are registered to attend and see apprenticeship in action through numerous displays. Highlights include:
-- A look inside a mobile welding trailer and a virtual welding simulator used to train Welder-Fabricators.
-- A tour of a mobile Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) Machining lab that shows how advanced manufacturing workers produce quality parts.
-- A demonstration of a virtual paint sprayer used to train Painter-Decorators
-- A close-up look at major equipment, including a bucket utility truck used by Electric Line Workers
-- A flow tank that demonstrates how Wastewater Treatment Operators process incoming water
-- Hair-cutting demonstrations to feature the Barber occupation.
-- Handle fencing and animal management equipment, including cloud-based animal health and identification record systems, used by Dairy Graziers in the production of cheese and other quality dairy products.

Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill in Rhinelander that he says will help employers get more skilled workers to companies. Youth Apprenticeship integrates high school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in skills defined by Wisconsin industries. It works with local school districts and the area technical colleges.

Stopping at Nicolet College to sign the Youth Apprenticeship Walker says the bill passed both legislative chambers with just one "no" vote, showing broad bi-partisan support...   ...more

If the restaurant's name isn't a tip-off, the sandwiches on the menu certainly reveal that this dining establishment is unusual: B-52 Meatball Bomber, Cuban Pickle Crisis, Buffalo Soldier Chicken Wrap.

Dished up by workers who served their country in uniform, the good food at Troop Cafe belies the nature of the unique restaurant that does double duty as a training program for veterans seeking jobs in the food and hospitality industries.

The cafe on the ground floor of Veterans Manor at the busy intersection of N. 35th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. serves breakfast and lunch, as well as hot and cold drinks. Since the nonprofit restaurant opened several months ago, two trainees have found jobs at local restaurants and several more culinary trainees are enrolled in the six- to nine-month program.


"A lifetime is not long enough to learn pastry. One always needs to keep working on mastering this ever-changing craft. That's what makes pastry so fascinating – it's a never-ending story." –Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer.

World renowned pastry chef Jacquey Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago's French Pastry School and author of the new book "The Art of French Pastry," has won countless accolades for his tireless pursuit of perfection in pastry.

He has also been recognized for his exceptional mentorship, which he has extended to dozens of pastry students from Wisconsin. Some, like Chef Kurt Fogle of SURG Restaurant Group, who Pfeiffer mentions by name as a star pupil, have gone on to make their own marks on the world of pastry.


Maryland -- Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is proposing a youth apprenticeship plan to help expand job opportunities.

Gansler, who is running for governor, announced the plan Thursday.

He says it will give 16-year-old high school students a chance to get job training while earning high school credits. Gansler says the plan will enable students to get a certificate of completion that will serve as a recognizable credential in a particular job field.

The apprenticeships would be run and paid for by employers.


Central Office Contact Information

Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards
201 E Washington Ave, Room E100
PO Box 7972
Madison, WI 53707
(608)266-3332 - Phone
(608)266-0766 - Fax

Staff contacts at the link!

DWD is a supporting sponsor of WisconsinApprentice.com
Note: Editorial Opinions, Article Content or comments, and Links are not necessary the Opinion or views of DWD it's Staff or associates unless so noted. We are working together to stimulate the interest in and provide resources for the advancement of apprenticeship and on the job training in Wisconsin. Please join us in the discussion.



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