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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, 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

Monday, November 2, 2015
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Secretary Newson Kicks Off Apprenticeship Week at Northwestern Mutual Work Project in Milwaukee

Governor Walker proclaimed Nov. 2-8 as Apprenticeship Week in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today toured the construction site of the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons project in Milwaukee to help kick off Apprenticeship Week, which Governor Walker proclaimed November 2-8 in Wisconsin.

The tour featured construction industry leaders, workforce and education experts and current apprentices who are developing their skills on Northwestern Mutual's project.

"Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program is a proven talent development solution that helps employers fill their need for skilled workers through customized training," Secretary Newson said. "On behalf of Governor Walker, we recognize the employers, workers, training partners and other collaborators that have innovative worker training programs like Registered Apprenticeship will continue to be successful approaches to address the skills gap, help employers remain competitive and move Wisconsin's workforce forward."

During National Apprenticeship Week, states are urged to host events to showcase their apprenticeship programs and engage business, industry, education, community agencies, students, workers and other stakeholders to learn about apprenticeship.

"Our project is about more than just meeting our needs. We want to be able, through partnerships with the city of Milwaukee, small businesses, the construction trades and others to create an environment where workers are provided with the tools and training to help grown valuable job skills to use beyond our project," said Sandy Botcher, Northwestern Mutual vice president – facility operations ant Tower and Commons project leaders. "That's an important element we've embraced: Building not only for ourselves, but for the future of Milwaukee."

The 32-story, 1.1 million-square-foot Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons will be completed in 2017 and preserve 1,100 downtown jobs while adding 1,900 new ones. It will also welcome residents and visitors to the city and anchor Milwaukee's lakefront development. The project has over 50 apprentices and 10 trades assisting with the construction of the site from general construction contractors, ironworkers, cement finishers, carpentry, operating engineers, laborers, electricians, masons, and others.

Registered Apprenticeship prepares individuals for skilled occupations by combining both on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced journey workers with related classroom instruction. Registered Apprenticeships are sponsored by employers, employer associations, or labor/management groups that can hire and train in a working situation.

Currently, Wisconsin Registered Apprenticeship includes 2,352 employers and 8,844 apprentices in over 200 occupations.

Governor Walker is a strong supporter of the Wisconsin Registered Apprenticeship program and included funding for the program in the 2015-17 biennial budget he signed last summer. Under the Governor's leadership, DWD has taken steps to modernize and position Registered Apprenticeship as a national model. In April 2015, DWD presented the 2015 Wisconsin Apprenticeship Summit action plan, which culminated the work of state, national and international experts who convened in January 2015 at a summit that was facilitated by the National Governors Association (NGA) to focus on apprenticeship strategies and recommendations.

In September, DWD was awarded a $5 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Growth and Enhancement Strategies (WAGE$) project. Under the WAGE$ initiative, DWD's Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) will register new apprenticeships in 12 high-growth occupations in the Advanced Manufacturing, HealthCare, and IT industries, and the project will expand upon other existing programs.

For more information on Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/apprenticeship/

Read the Governor's Apprenticeship Week Proclamation

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