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State Apprenticeship Program Reaches Out

The state workforce development agency and Nicolet College are putting the spotlight on manufacturing apprenticeship programs in northern Wisconsin.  The agency held an outreach session Friday for local manufacturers.

The program is designed for workers who are already employed by a company.  During the apprenticeship the employee keeps getting paid, and spends ten percent of his or her time in school at a technical college.  In Oneida County, that means Nicolet College.  Ben Stahlecker from the Department of Workforce Development…says it’s a win-win situation.       

“It would be a benefit for both sides. For one the employee is going to get a journeyman’s card out of this. And the employer’s gonna benefit, because he’s going to be getting a more productive employee.”

Stahlecker says some apprentices are just out of high school, while  some are older workers in their 50s and 60s.  Curt Priefer is a Plant Manager at Hy Pro, a company in Rhinelander that makes machine parts.  He says he’s interested in the apprenticeship program because he needs more highly trained workers. 

“I think as manufacturers in North Central Wisconsin – one of the biggest challenges is skilled workforce. So anything that’s done to develop that resource within the regional area is a benefit to all of us.”

The department of workforce development says there are about 11,000 workers involved in the program statewide.