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Blackhawk Apprentices Awarded $22,500 in Scholarships

April 23, 2020

Fifteen Blackhawk Technical College apprentices have each received $1,500 scholarships from Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates). The Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship program helps apprentices with financial need to complete their programs and advance to in-demand jobs.

Most apprenticeships combine up to five years of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Wages are often modest and financial aid options can be limited. Tools of the Trade scholarships help apprentices purchase expensive tools, clothing, and equipment required to complete their training.

The scholarships will truly benefit students who are still training during the public health crisis. “We are still holding apprenticeship classes in an online modality via Zoom right now. We didn’t stop or suspend apprenticeship due to COVID-19, but instead expanded our flexibility,” said Greg Phillips, Blackhawk Technical College Apprenticeship Instructor and Faculty Chair.

Since the scholarship program was founded in 2013, 95% of recipients across the Wisconsin Technical College System have either completed or continued their apprenticeships the following semester. In total, the program has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships.

“This scholarship helps students overcome financial barriers so they can focus on successfully completing their apprenticeship and advancing to an in-demand trade career,” said Richard D. George, Chairman, President and CEO of Ascendium. “We’re proud to help Wisconsin’s hardworking apprentices build brighter futures.”

The following Blackhawk electrician apprentices were awarded a 2019-2020 Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship:

  • Darci Athow
  • Bob Burke
  • Benjamin Carlson
  • Cameron Davis
  • Justin Johnson
  • Melissa Johnson
  • Alex Linstead
  • Noah Lorenz
  • Hunter Masek
  • Keith Miller
  • Tyler Moulton
  • Caleb O’Morrow
  • Jaxson Sawtelle
  • Jordan Spradlin
  • Mitchell Wellnitz

Phillips continued, “For the last couple of years we’ve had great results for our apprentices. A committee of volunteers then reviews the applications based on many different factors, such as enrollment status, financial information, and areas of greatest need. We appreciate Ascendium’s continued support of our students.”

To learn more about the Apprenticeship opportunities at Blackhawk Technical College, visit

About Ascendium: Elevating opportunity through the power of higher education since 1967
Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) is the nation’s largest student loan guarantor as well as a leading post-secondary education and workforce training philanthropy and provider of student success services for colleges and universities. Founded in 1967, Ascendium provides information, tools, and counseling to millions of borrowers nationwide, helping them avoid the consequences of default and keeping the door to re-enrollment open. Ascendium’s philanthropy program provides grant funding to educational institutions and researchers working to eliminate systemic obstacles to postsecondary success facing students from low-income households, a disproportionate number of whom are students of color and first-generation students. To learn more, visit

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