DWD Secretary Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Youth Apprenticeship in Wisconsin at BTC Event

November 17, 2021
representatives of DWD and BTC at the lunch-and-learn event

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-Designee Amy Pechacek joined manufacturing employers, educators, and workforce development partners at a Youth Apprenticeship Lunch & Learn event Wednesday at BTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week and the 30th anniversary of the state’s Youth Apprenticeship program.

Pictured from L-R: Rhonda Suda (SWWDB Chief Executive Officer), Mark Borowicz (BTC Director of Workforce and Community Development), Colleen Koerth (BTC Manager of Workforce Development), and Amy Pechacek (DWD Secretary-Designee).

Pechacek praised the work done in Rock and Green counties to help build the state’s workforce pipeline through apprenticeship. Pechacek said she credits partners, including the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and Blackhawk Technical College, for helping to “flip the script” by making apprenticeship “one of the premiere ways to enter the workforce.”

“Blackhawk Technical College has been there from the very beginning,” Pechacek said.

Merrill Reed, a Beloit Memorial High School student, shared his experience as a youth apprentice at Frito-Lay. The experience has made him more engaged in his schoolwork, and it has opened the door to a career he didn’t know existed, he said. After he graduates, Reed plans to attend Blackhawk.

Wednesday’s event also featured Matthew White, Director of DWD’s Equal Rights Division. White discussed child labor laws as they pertain to Youth Apprenticeship.

About Youth Apprenticeship

Employers hire high school juniors or seniors for one or two-year apprenticeships. Students continue to attend their regular high school academic classes to meet graduation requirements and may take youth apprenticeship-related instruction classes through their high school or through partnerships with colleges, such as BTC. Employers extend job offers to about 75 percent of students once they graduate from high school.

About National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week is a nationwide, week-long celebration from Nov. 15-21 that showcases the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship for re-building the economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities.

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