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Starting a Youth Apprenticeship Program

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In order to assure success, it is critical to first assess the support and receptiveness of the local community. "Community" may include one city and school or reach an entire regional, multiple city/school district area. Research the following questions:

  • Are local educational institutions strengthening school-to-work transition programs?
  • Are there students and parents likely to be interested in a work-based learning approach that leads to jobs and/or technical college?
  • Are local employers interested in supporting a school-to-work program?
  • Are there multiple businesses available in the YA program areas to be offered?

The YA program requires a long-term commitment from employers, schools, and the community. Local leaders with persistence and vision are needed to successfully develop, implement, and maintain a YA program.

  • Identify the "champions" in your community - KEY leaders from local schools, colleges, and business
  • Invite these leaders to participate on the Steering Committee
  • Highlight YA program requirements, roles and responsibilities in the first meetings
  • Obtain commitment from all members
  • As the YA program expands, you will need to expand the Steering Committee to include other pertinent businesses, educational partners, and workforce representatives. Eventually, you may choose to have several advisory committees based on occupational clusters AND/OR on specific functions (e.g., marketing, related instruction, mentors, etc.)
  • Identify businesses willing to hire YA students
  • Verify interested businesses can provide the full range of training required in the standardized skill set
  • Evaluate cost effectiveness of providing class training for the required related technical instruction
  • Select one or two areas for the first year to build success and experience before expanding to multiple YA program offerings
  • Organize informational meetings to inform them of YA program development and to gain support
  • You may want to target specific schools or business based on information from steps above
  • Develop a recruitment plan to interest employers to hire youth apprentices
  • Recruit employers using several methods including media coverage, phone calls, personal visits, information meetings, informational literature, etc.
  • Use Steering Committee leaders to solicit YA program participation

While state guidelines provide an overall framework for the YA program, the actual operating design is to be determined by the Steering Committee.

  • Determine the administrative structure
  • Designate a local consortium coordinator
  • Design the local YA program structure
  • Design the learning delivery system

Complete a yearly application in order to operate an approved Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) YA program and receive funding

  • Train instructors, teachers, and school staff:
    • Review and explain state curriculum guide for all applicable YA program offerings
    • Review the Education/Training Agreement (form) (ETA) purpose and completion
    • Identify communication methods between local YA program,
      school staff, mentors, and parents
    • Discuss the role of instructors in evaluating YA students
  • Train employer mentors

Develop procedures to establish local YA program operation details
for the following critical activities:

  • Orienting new students and parents
  • Developing communication links between schools, employers,
    parents, and YA students
  • Establishing communication links between mentors and YA
    program instructors
  • Designing support systems for YA students
  • Assessing student progress
  • Program requirements regarding attendance and performance. This policy must be made available to all instructors, mentors, YA students and parents at the time of the enrollment
  • Grievance policy
  • YA Program monitoring, reporting, and evaluation
  •  Operational Procedures

 YA Regulations, Policy, and Procedures Manual 2020 (PDF)

Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship: Calendar of Activities & Responsibilities (PDF)