Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is a highly successful talent acquisition strategy in which employers hire high school juniors or seniors for a one or two-year apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship, the student continues toward high school graduation and takes courses related to the profession as a way of enhancing what is being learned on the job. The YA Program is coordinated locally by regional consortia and overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Each consortium typically includes several participating high schools. Employers may hire from more than one high school and even work with multiple consortia to meet their hiring needs.
The Youth Apprenticeship program areas
- Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources - Architecture and Construction
- Art, A/V Technology and Communications - Finance
- Health Science - Hospitality, Lodging and Tourism
- Information Technology - Marketing
- Manufacturing - Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Key Attributes for Employers
Hiring: YA coordinators help identify potential youth apprentices and assist with coordinating interviews, but employers determine who to hire and may opt not to hire any youth.
Mentors: Before hiring a youth apprentice, employers are asked to identify an individual who will act as a mentor for the apprentice.in the workplace.
Education/Training Agreement (ETA): Signed by the apprentice, their parent, the employer, the school principal and the local YA coordinator, this agreement enumerates the expectations and responsibilities of each party during the apprenticeship.
Skills Standards Checklists (SSC): Each type of apprenticeship offers a list of skills that youth are expected to learn at the workplace.
These are shared with employers prior to hiring the apprentice and are updated throughout the student's Youth Apprenticeship as they acquire more and more skills.
Benefits for Employers
The YA Program has been connecting employers with high school student talent for over 25 years, creating a scalable and successful program with input from industry. Over 2,900 employers and 4,000 youth apprentices across Wisconsin participated in the YA Program during the
2017/18 school year. Employers extend permanent job offers to more than 75 percent of the graduating youth apprentices annually, making YA an excellent pipeline for recruiting and retaining loyal, well-trained talent. Employers continually report a high level of satisfaction, and cite these program benefits:
Access to young workers who are eager to learn and have an interest in the profession.
Quality, prescreened youth apprentices who receive ongoing support during their apprenticeship.
A method to address future hiring needs in a cost-effective and timely manner.
The chance to shape the skills, expectations and habits of youth apprentices at a young age.
Work Permits Work permits are not required in Wisconsin for anyone 16 years of age and older as of June 23, 2017. Most youth apprentices
are 16 – 18 years old.