Apprenticeship? What's That?
Apprenticeship combines structured, on-the-job training with classroom instruction. Apprentices learn both the theory and practice of a highly-skilled occupation in two to five years, getting paid for their time on the job and in the classroom
Wisconsin's technical colleges provide instruction for more than 40 apprenticeship programs in the industrial, construction and service industries, which helps to meet employer needs and allows students to learn through hands-on training while earning a wage.
Not only do students earn wages during their training, they are highly employed in lucrative fields following completion of that training. The most recent 2013-2014 WTCS Apprenticeship Completers Report shows "99% of apprentices were employed after completing their training, with 96% employed in the trade for which they received training." The report is based on a survey of the of the most recent 752 apprentices to complete their training, of which 315 responded to the survey. Of those, "96% indicated that they were satisfied to very satisfied with their paid related instruction, and 90% were satisfied to very satisfied with their On-the-job training."
The annual median salary for all WTCS apprentice programs was $66,347, with the construction, industrial, and service sector median salaries coming in at $68,708, $62,395, and $72,982 respectively.
Interest is growing...
Enrollment across WTCS apprenticeship programs is up 35.8% since 2013, far outpacing enrollment growth in non-apprenticeship technical degree and diploma programs at WTCS Colleges. As of March 2016, there were 5613 apprentices enrolled in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
The U.S. department of labor recently announced a total of 50.5 million in additional funding for ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion grants in order to "invest in state strategies, intermediaries and activities to engage employers, expand and diversify Registered Apprenticeship". With such commitment at the national level, WTCS anticipates apprenticeship to continue its growth for years to come. More ApprenticeshipUSA grant information found here
New apprenticeship programs are being developed to meet the ever-changing needs of Wisconsin's employers, programs such as the Arborist Apprenticeship program, announced this past March. A first of its kind in the nation, the program was developed in conjunction with members of the Wisconsin Arborist Association and business representatives in partnership with WTCS and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The full announcement can be found here, with additional information on the Arborist Apprenticeship here.
Local News Coverage of the new Arborist Apprenticeship below:
(Video courtesy of Wisconsin's TMJ4)
How can I get involved?
If you're interested in creating apprenticeship opportunities, please visit the Dept. of Workforce Development's employer webpage
If you're an employee looking for an opportunity to expand your skills through apprenticeship, please visit the Dept. of Workforce Development's apprenticeship applicant webpage
Technical College Apprenticeship Resource Pages:
Other Apprenticeship Resources
Great Lakes' "Tools of the Trade" Apprentice Scholarships
DPI (Department of Public Instruction) Apprenticeship Awareness Toolkit
National Institute for Women in the Trades and Technology
United States Department Of Labor-Office of Apprenticeship
WI Department of Workforce Development Home Page
Construction Workforce Diversity Alliance