Now that I have your attention…no, there is no such thing as a pumpkin spice Youth Apprenticeship (YA), but YA and fall do go hand in hand! For those not familiar with the State of Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program, it is a work-based learning opportunity, also referred to as School-to-Work, that has been in Wisconsin since 1992. It is an exceptional way for students to test-drive a potential career but to also get release time from school and credit for the experience as well. Students can choose from any one of the following 11 Pathways:
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
- Architecture & Construction
- Arts, AV Technology
- Finance/ Insurance
- Health Science – CNA, Dental, Pharmacy
- Hospitality, Tourism & Lodging
- Information Technology
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
A good percentage of the students participating in YA are high-achieving students that are looking for ways to set themselves apart from their peers with a unique experience. YA is not for the faint of heart either; students need to be dedicated and committed to showing up for work, organized and able to stay on top of homework and obligations at home, and many are athletes or very involved with several school activities.
Whether a student is planning to attend a post-secondary educational institution after high school or not, the Youth Apprenticeship program is for everyone. Why? Because students involved in the YA Program learn from experience that working is exciting and challenging. They also learn that the world is becoming more technological and globally competitive. Youth Apprenticeship participants grow to understand that a strong academic foundation, technical know-how and an appreciation for lifelong learning are skills that employers are seeking when hiring new employees. Having the YA credential on a resume and applications demonstrates commitment, a strong work ethic and a desire to learn more about a potential career. Further, Youth Apprenticeship meets the needs of employers by equipping students with skills that are required for successful employment.
Help Build A Qualified Future Workforce
Benefits of the Youth Apprenticeship Program are multi-fold in that the program helps students prepare for careers while still in high school, but also develops the technical and employability skills that community employers are looking for.
By hiring, mentoring and training their own future “Star Employees,” businesses will help improve the pool of qualified candidates available locally while also decreasing their hiring and training expenses. Often times after students graduate, many employers find themselves hiring the very Youth Apprentices they have trained without a time-consuming, expensive search process.
Want to get involved and host and mentor a youth apprentice? Here are a few details to consider:
- Pay your youth apprentice minimum wage or more, as agreed upon with the student
- Set a work schedule for your apprentice that meets program requirements and the student’s schedule: 450 hours a year. Students get release time from school to work and are also available to work during the summer or on school breaks
- Follow industry workplace safety requirements
- Appoint a skilled mentor to provide active training/coaching
- Provide work experiences enabling your apprentice to learn skills that satisfy program requirements
- Abide by state and federal child labor laws and regulations
- Regularly evaluate your apprentice’s performance and submit a quarterly grade
- Participate in mentor training and provide input on youth apprenticeship curriculum revisions
For more information on how you can participate, please contact Lisa McArthur at Envision Greater Fond du Lac at (920) 921-9500.