News & Events

Blackhawk Tech and Scot Forge Partner to Offer Apprenticeships

September 19, 2019

Blackhawk Technical College and Scot Forge are partnering to offer the first Fork Truck Repair and Heavy Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program in Wisconsin. The two organizations currently offer a Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program. Four individuals were recently signed to the two programs and will begin their on-the-job training and classroom instruction.

group of apprentices and college/employer partners
The students signed include:
  • Jerry Fuentes (Beloit) - Mechatronics
  • Dane Brandl (Clinton) - Mechatronics
  • Ben Bergman (Whitewater) - Mechatronics
  • Hunter Abramson (Whitewater) - Fork Truck Repair and Heavy Equipment Technician

(Pictured: Second Row: Joshua Johnson, Perry Detlor, Kelly Crosby and Tracy Pierner. Front Row: Dane Brandl, Jerry Fuentes, Hunter Abramson and Ben Bergman.)

“Blackhawk has grown the number of apprenticeships in recent years as they are critical to sustaining a high level of workmanship in the industry. Our students and graduates are helping local companies compete in a global market,” said Blackhawk President Dr. Tracy Pierner.

The growth of apprenticeships at Blackhawk are attributed to a strong partnership with Southwest Workforce Development Board (SWWDB). Through the Department of Workforce Development WAGES Grant, SWWDB plays a significant role in outreach to local organizations to establish new apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing.

Wisconsin was the first state to create an apprenticeship law in 1911. It is a legacy that Danielle Williams, Assistant Deputy Secretary Department of Workforce Development, acknowledged is still a priority at the state level today. “As an agency, we look to see how we can recruit more Wisconsinites into the workforce. Apprenticeships are the key to keeping our workforce well-trained and our families economically strong.”

Williams was one of several speakers at a recent signing event to honor the new apprentices. “The apprentices are taking their first steps into a really fulfilling career,” continued Williams. Representatives from the Department of Workforce Development, the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and Scot Forge were in attendance at the event held at Blackhawk Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.

Apprenticeship is a model that couples skill development and hands-on training under the direction of a subject matter expert. It is a model that is beneficial to employees, employers and the economy. With registered apprenticeships, employers can attract dedicated applicants and train them in a manner that instills their own company’s values and work ethic.

The mission of Scot Forge focuses on forging a better future for their employee-owners and the community. Scot Forge Plant Manager Perry Detlor said, “It is a part of what we do every day and this program is a part of that – it is more than recruiting. It’s a chance for us to give back to the community to find young people who are intelligent, driven, excited about manufacturing and give them a skill set that is marketable and to help launch their career.”

Joshua Johnson, Chief of Operations for the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, called Scot Forge a powerhouse in registered apprenticeship. “We are experiencing a renaissance where apprenticeships are coming back strong. Blackhawk continues to think outside of the box, and Scot Forge is truly an employer who cares about the growth of its employees and the community.”

According to Pierner, “The new language is earn-and-learn and Blackhawk must graduate workforce-ready talent. Apprenticeship leads the way. BTC aims to join with industry partners to deliver the education and training they need, when and where they need it, and in a manner that best suits their needs.”

Every apprenticeship is different, from the application process to the length of the training program. For more information about apprenticeships at Blackhawk Technical College visit or call (608) 743-4597.

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