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

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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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Lt. Governor Kleefisch, Secretary Newson Congratulate Graduates of GPS Education Partners' Innovative Training Program

Work-based learning program equips next generation of workers with skills that are in demand

WAUKESHA – Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson tonight congratulated the latest graduates of the GPS Education Partners' innovative training and education program. The program engages and provides high school students with education and training to pursue rewarding careers in manufacturing and other demand sectors.

"Our administration strongly supports innovative programs that open new opportunities for young people to pursue challenging and rewarding careers while they complete their education," Lt. Governor Kleefisch said at the graduation ceremony held at Carroll University. "We wish this talented group of individuals the very best and are proud of them for the success they have achieved in this model program, which is a model for the rest of the state."

The GPS Education Partners organization has operated as a certified Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program for well over a decade. The program specializes in engaging high school students who prefer a work-based learning environment to traditional classroom instruction and excel in a manufacturing setting.

Generac Power Systems launched the program under a different name in 1996 to bolster the YA manufacturing program. Since 2000, almost 300 students have graduated from the program.

In addition to over 100 businesses, 50 high schools across the state are involved in the remarkably successful collaborative effort. Of all students enrolled, 90 percent successfully complete the program, and more than 50 percent succeed in entering the workforce immediately, the majority of them in manufacturing. The remaining graduates either enroll in post-secondary education or advance to adult apprenticeship programs and military careers.

"GPS Education Partners has developed an effective and collaborative approach to address the skills gap in Wisconsin and further develop and strengthen Wisconsin's workforce," Secretary Newson said. "Today is a celebration not just for these graduates' achievements, but also for Wisconsin's efforts to equip workers with the skills needed to fill jobs that employers need to fill today. We thank GPS Education Partners and wish them continued success for many years to come."

The cornerstone of GPS Education Partners is it allows students a personalized learning model with customized academic plans and training plans. Students learn according to their own needs, pace and level. Each student receives one-on-one business mentorship which allows the student to build a foundation for both academic and career success. Many students gain full-time employment or apprenticeships through a business partner upon graduation, while others continue their education in technical colleges or traditional universities.

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