Youth Apprenticeship Expands Horizons at NTC
By Donna Schulz
You’ve heard the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child”? It’s more than a phrase in Medford and Rib Lake. Since 2000, eighty high school juniors and seniors in these two communities – supported by their parents, teachers, and more than 44 area employers – have benefited from a real-world connection between education and employment by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program.
The YA Program is a one- or two-year statewide program that combines academic and technical instruction with mentored, paid, on-the-job learning. YAs work 450 hours each year of their program while taking related high school or college classes. After meeting the competencies associated with their apprenticeship, they receive a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency from the Department of Workforce Development that is recognized by both colleges and businesses. It’s quite a commitment for all parties involved, so why do they do it?
Phillip Schupp, a junior at Rib Lake High School, is working with Doug Kamps, the work site coordinator at Multitek in Prentice. Phillip explained, "This youth apprenticeship program has given me many skills that will help me be successful when I pursue the Industrial Maintenance degree at Waukesha County Technical College. I can make parts on the lathe down to 1000th of an inch. I get to work on machinery that many high school students will never even see till after they graduate. This is a great opportunity." Dylan Klimpke, also a junior at Rib Lake, works at Nick's Truck Repair in Medford. “This youth apprenticeship has taken me further than would have been possible in my high school courses. So I am already at an advantage over other students that don't have a youth apprenticeship, and I still have my senior year to learn more skills."
Thank you to all of the local businesses that have supported the area’s future workforce through YA in the past. If you are interested in hiring a YA, contact Terry Lybert or Mary Houle at Medford High School or Marilyn Teske at Rib Lake High School.
Donna Schulz is the K-12 Programs Coordinator at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.