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Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

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

Feb. 28, 2023
CONTACT: DWD Communications

Gov. Evers, DWD Celebrate Record-Breaking Apprenticeship Numbers

Registered apprenticeship program reaches highest participation in state history, governor continues support for apprenticeship in 2023-25 biennial budget proposal

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), today announced Wisconsin has achieved a state record of more than 15,900 apprentices during 2022 thanks to strong growth in traditional sectors, including construction and manufacturing and innovative opportunities in fields such as IT and healthcare.

"We've worked hard over the past four years to ensure Wisconsinites have access to the resources and training to pursue the high-quality, family-supporting jobs they need to be successful, and our economy shows it, as we've seen record low unemployment, record high labor force participation, and record high participation in our apprenticeship programs," said Gov. Evers. "We are excited to see a record number of 15,937 registered apprentices earning while they're learning on the job, and we're going to keep making smart, strategic investments to help this program continue to succeed and grow and to ensure our state's economic momentum continues."

Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program is an earn-while-you-learn model that connects apprentices with high-skill, high-wage employment with sponsors across the state. In addition to learning the hands-on skills of the occupation from the sponsoring employer, apprentices gain knowledge specific to the occupation through an area technical college or private training center. A key component of apprenticeship is employment, and there is no apprenticeship without a respective job opening.

The record-high total of 15,937 apprentices in 2022 topped the previous record of 15,757 apprentices in 2001.

"Wisconsin Apprenticeship is stronger than ever with more than 183 registered apprenticeship pathways and 75 youth apprenticeship pathways," said DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek. "These record-breaking numbers exemplify the program's success in connecting employers to skilled workers and job seekers to family-sustaining careers."

David Polk, director of DWD's Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, credited the program's success to its partners.

"The entire apprenticeship system—employers, unions, job seekers, educators, and other partners—works in partnership to expand the program while remaining true to its core principles," Polk said. "I want to thank all of the stakeholders who made this record possible. With the continued help of these visionary leaders and the added engagement of employers in emerging industries, apprenticeship in Wisconsin will continue to grow."

In collaboration with industry partners, DWD added seven new registered apprenticeship pathways in 2022: diesel technician, supply chain specialist, yacht service technician, lab animal care technician, medical lab technician, caregiver, and human resources specialist. This expansion will continue in 2023, with plans to add six new pathways in the healthcare, transportation, and service industries.

The increasingly diverse mix of career pathways is also drawing a more diverse pool of apprentices, including more women and people of color.

Wisconsin was the first in the nation with a registered apprenticeship program and is unique among the 50 states in requiring employers to pay their apprentices for both time worked and time spent in required classroom instruction, recognizing the equally important weight of both aspects of apprenticeship training.

Another important piece of the apprenticeship ecosystem is youth apprenticeship. Youth apprenticeship integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries. Many of the youth apprenticeship occupational pathways bridge to registered apprenticeship, offering students a clear path to a skilled career.

Wisconsin's Youth Apprenticeship program reached a record with more than 6,400 youth apprentices and more than 4,500 employers in the 2021-2022 school year. The program also recently added 14 new pathways.

More information about apprenticeship opportunities in Wisconsin is available here.

Gov. Evers also highlighted his 2023-25 biennial budget proposals that will help support and expand apprenticeship opportunities in Wisconsin, as well as strengthen Wisconsin's workforce. A breakdown of those proposals is available below.

Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities

Gov. Evers' 2023-25 Biennial Budget includes several provisions to bolster apprenticeship opportunities in Wisconsin, including:

Strengthening Wisconsin's Workforce

The governor is proposing a $200 million investment to continue the state's successful Workforce Innovation Grant Program to provide long-term solutions for businesses to find workers and individuals to obtain family-supporting jobs, with a specific focus of $100 million to bolster the state's healthcare workforce. In addition to the governor's $200 million investment in the Workforce Innovation Grant Program, he is also proposing:

More information regarding Gov. Evers' 2023-25 Biennial Budget investments to support working families and expand Wisconsin's workforce, including providing paid family and medical leave, ensuring child care is affordable and accessible, and developing affordable housing across the state is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.