Become a Youth Apprentice

Youth Apprenticeship (YA) integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries. Local programs provide training based on statewide youth apprenticeship curriculum guidelines, endorsed by business and industry. Students are instructed by qualified teachers and skilled worksite mentors. Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, in a youth apprenticeship related instruction class, and are employed by a participating employer under the supervision of a skilled mentor.

About the Youth Apprenticeship Program How do I become a youth apprentice? Career Programs & Responsibilities Other Work-Based Learning Programs

About the Youth Apprenticeship Program

A women using an industrial grinding wheel

Program Framework

Key elements of the youth apprenticeship program are:

  • Industry-developed skill standards
  • Exposure to multiple aspects of the industry
  • Skilled mentors assigned to train the students
  • Paid on-the-job work experience
  • Related classroom instruction concurrent with work-based learning
  • Curriculum guidelines for all programs
  • Performance evaluation of demonstrated competencies
  • State-issued skill certificate

Timeline & Requirements

YA Level One (Year One) and Level Two (Year Two)

Level One:

  • Junior OR Senior year of High School
  • 450 hours of work-based learning MINIMUM
  • 2 semesters of related classroom instruction

Level Two:

  • Junior AND Senior year of High School
  • 900 hours of work-based learning MINIMUM
  • 4 semesters of related classroom instruction


  • As early as JUNE after sophomore year or as late as JUNE after the Junior year for a Level Two
  • As early as JUNE after junior year for a Level One senior year or as late as FALL of the senior year
  • By high school graduation
  • By AUGUST 31 following high school graduation
  • Extensions beyond August 31st may be granted - submit request in writing to DWD at:
    YA Program, DWD, P.O. Box 7972, Madison, WI 53707-7922

How do I become a youth apprentice?

1. Get Prepared & apply

Get started by talking to your school counselor, Youth Apprenticeship Local Coordinator or Regional Coordinator about how to apply and obtain career materials (plans of study) from your coordinators.

2. Interview with employers and companies in chosen industries

If accepted, you are eligible to interview at a company in the industry where you're looking to gain experience.

3. Participate in all employer orientations, onboardings, and safety trainings

After a successful interview, you will participate in an onsite orientation where, among many other things, you will get to meet your new mentor.

4. Participate in regular progress reviews

Complete your industry specific YA requirements as you work and study during your apprenticeship.

5. Complete industry specific classroom and worksite YA requirements.

Once all your requirements are fulfilled, you will receive your Certificate of Occupational Proficiency (YA certificate) from the Department of Workforce Development!

Lady with laptop shaking hands

Career Programs & Responsibilities

Youth Apprenticeship offers several career programs to pursue. The options may vary depending on the offerings for your local area.


  • Obtain career materials (plans of study) from your school
  • Work with your local YA coordinator to interview for job placements
  • Arrangement for transportation to and from work
  • Exhibit maturity and responsibility at work
  • Maintain academic skills and good attendance at school and work

Other Work-Based Learning Programs

Wisconsin's Work Based Learning options include: