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Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Friday, November 18, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD and Wisconsin Operating Engineers Celebrate Apprenticeship Week at Coloma Training Center

Over 60 youth attend to learn about career opportunities

COLOMA – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary Dave Anderson visited the Wisconsin Operating Engineers – Joseph J. Goetz Training Center in Coloma on Thursday, November 17, to showcase Registered Apprenticeship career pathways to over 60 students from Adams-Friendship, Westfield Area and Wautoma High Schools during Wisconsin's Apprenticeship Week celebration.

The event follows Governor Scott Walker proclaiming November as Career Development Month and November 14-20 as Apprenticeship Week in Wisconsin, highlighting Registered Apprenticeship as an effective career and talent development strategy that contributes to Wisconsin's economy by developing highly skilled workers to fill in-demand jobs with qualified and available employees.

"Wisconsin's innovative Registered Apprenticeship program is helping employers address the skills gap," said Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson. "Thanks to our strong collaborations with Wisconsin Operating Engineers, Wisconsin technical colleges and employers across the state, Registered Apprenticeship continues to thrive as a proven talent development solution."

The Wisconsin Operating Engineers coordinated the event to provide area youth with exposure local Registered Apprenticeship training, including hands-on indoor simulator and outdoor equipment operation experiences. It also provided students with an opportunity to talk one-on-one with current and former apprentices.

"We were honored to open Training Center doors to help local high school students explore Registered Apprenticeship opportunities," said Wisconsin Operating Engineers Vice President and Training Center Director Dan Sperberg. "Connecting youth with apprenticeship options prior to graduation provides an exceptional path for successfully transitioning into the workforce while starting a high demand and rewarding career."

Wisconsin's nationally recognized Registered Apprenticeship program provides a value-added training model for as many as 11,000 apprentices and 2,500 employers in over 200 occupations across the state annually. Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week gives Wisconsin an opportunity to showcase program benefits, including enabling employers to build a customized skills training system while helping workers earn good-paying, family-supporting wages as they learn a high demand trade.

Governor Walker is a strong supporter of Wisconsin Registered Apprenticeship program and included funding for the program in the 2015-17 biennial state budget. Under the Governor's leadership, DWD has taken steps to modernize and reinforce the state's Registered Apprenticeship program, including developing a bridge between model Youth Apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs to provide Wisconsin high school students with a seamless transition from work-based learning into apprenticeship training and employment.

DWD was recently awarded three U.S. DOL – ApprenticeshipUSA grants to help more Wisconsin employers and workers achieve their apprenticeship goals:
• $5 million Wisconsin Apprenticeship Growth and Enhancement Strategies (WAGE$) grant to train 1,000 new apprentices and up-skill 542 incumbent workers by expanding programs in three sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare and Information Technology.
• $200,000 State Accelerator Grant to support and expand apprenticeship opportunities into new sectors of the economy.
• $1.5 million grant to develop 427 new apprenticeships in the Biotech and Financial Services industries and expand Construction industry apprenticeships for traditionally underrepresented populations, such as women and minorities.
Wisconsin was a pioneer in establishing the nation's first apprenticeship law in 1911 and served as a model for developing federal apprenticeship law. Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship stewards have served as workforce development policy drivers and technical experts for more than 100 years, helping build and improve apprenticeship training at both the state and national level.

Photos of Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson's visit to Coloma are available on DWD's flickr page.

More information on Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program

Learn about apprenticeships available through Wisconsin Operating Engineers at: http://woetrainingcenter.org/.