Youth Apprenticeship Program

I think any person will gain something positive out of the YA program. It gives you real-life experience in a field that school just can't do. This is what makes YA so great.

Pharis Martin, STEM-Engineering Youth Apprentice

The beginnings of Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship date back to 1991 with an innovative idea: a school-to-work initiative to prepare students for careers. Nearly 30 years later we're opening the door to show over 450 high school students every year how Youth Apprenticeship can better their future.

How It Works

Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is designed to shape and skill young talent for the needs of the profession. Think of it as an early recruitment and training strategy for your future talent pool. By design, YA integrates school- and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and professional skills as defined by Wisconsin industries.

Local programs provide training based on statewide YA curriculum guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Students are instructed by qualified trainers and skilled worksite mentors. They are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, in a YA-related instruction class and are employed by a participating business under the supervision of a skilled mentor.


The YA program is a win-win for all involved. Companies gain new employees that are ready to learn the business, all while helping to alleviate challenges like skilled worker shortages or the ongoing need for a highly skilled workforce. YA students experience a challenging and rewarding development opportunity with hands-on learning under the supervision of a skilled mentor. This is combined with classroom instruction to engage students in the learning process and motivate them to focus on their future.

The program is a perfect blend of training coupled with work and productivity. It allows you to tailor the employee to fit your specific needs in your facility, on your equipment, in your environment, and to your specific standards and goals.

YA is a game-changer for us. We're molding and recruiting our future workforce in a way we've never done before.

CNC Solutions

Industry Tracks

Students and companies can engage in YA opportunities in any of 11 industry tracks, including:

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Architecture & Construction - Art, A/V Technology & Communications Finance Health Science Hospitality, Lodging & Tourism Information TechnologyManufacturing Marketing - Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Impacts and Results

Percent of alumni that are employed post-high school:85%
Percent of YAs that have successfully completed the program since 2012:84%
Percent of YA graduates that enroll in a technical college or university:60%

Workforce Innovation in Action

Our Leadership

Our work is made possible with support and guidance from industry leaders and workforce partners.

Industry Council Members

Michol Banes, American Marketing Association,
Sarah Bass, Long-Term Care Workforce Alliance
Marshall Behringer, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
Dave Branson, Building Trades of South Central Wisconsin
Michelle Chawla, Chawla T-Acres
Fausto Coello, Staybridge Suites Madison - Middleton
Heather Dale, Covance
Craig Kittelson, MadREP
Dan Klecker, Wisconsin Automotive and Truck Dealers Association
Morgan Myers, Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
Alex Newman, Wisconsin Restaurant Association/Education Foundation
Jeff Roach, AGC
Ron Roehl, CNC Solutions
Marissa Seay, Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Supporting Staff

Josh Fassl, Dane County School Consortium
Heather Jozwowski, Jefferson County School to Career
Monique Billings, Madison Metropolitan School District
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin


For more information, contact Danica Nilsestuen, WDBSCW Director of Business Services.


Students interested in applying can contact our YA partners: Dane County School ConsortiumMadison Metropolitan School District, or Jefferson County School to Career. Additional information is available at the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship and Wisconsin Registered Apprenticeship websites. More student testimonials are available on the Dane County School Consortium website.

Learn more about our talent development initiatives like: Made in Dane CampaignTrade Up Campaign, and the Manufacturing Works Campaign.