Employer Testimonials

The quotes used on this page were offered by employers who have employed Youth Apprenticeship students.


Mark Hanson, City of Wausau, Fleet and Facilities Manager, Wausau

"As the Fleet and Facilities Manager for the City of Wausau Public Works Dept. we have been involved with the Youth Apprentice program for 5 years now, and I plan to continue with it as long as I can. The reason I think this program is so important, is that it gives that student not only the on the job training that is so important in the automotive trade, but it also gives them life lessons, such as dealing with different people from day to day, and being able to see how a real workplace functions, and the importance of seeing every aspect of it.

"It also has given some of our full time employees a chance to interact with students and show some abilities that would have never shown through if they hadn't been given a chance to work with the students. It gives students the knowledge that they just don't get in a classroom.

"On the other hand, with tightened budgets in the municipal sector, the Youth Apprentices have been extremely helpful to be able to get a lot of the jobs done that have been left on the lower end of the priority list. The full time maintenance techs can be used more effectively with the more complicated jobs, while the apprentices are relied on to perform preventative maintenance and several of the automotive type jobs that come up on a daily basis. My only wish is that every student that was interested in the automotive trade would be able to land a part time position through the Youth Apprenticeship Program so they could get some on the job training, and be able to see if that is really what they want to do for a living, or may figure out what they would really like to do.

"With the increasing demands of the automotive industry and the advancing technologies that are coming into place, we need to rely on the students that are coming through our school systems and out into the workplace to be prepared with some basic skills that cannot come from strictly classroom environments."

Kent Olson, Olson Tire & Auto Service, Wausau

"This program is the single most effective use of taxpayer dollars to link our business community to the workforce and training needs of the community. We must expand, celebrate, promote and encourage participation in this endeavor. I have personally gained staff, changed some lives, and enjoyed the successes and failures of the participants. YA has enriched our staff in learning to operate as mentors, and enhanced our perception in the community as involved participants. We must include business to provide the technical training as no single college will be able to maintain competence with all the industry changes so they must be partners in the delivery of the curriculum."

Gary Gasper, Gasper's Auto Clinic, Sheboygan

"I'm a complete backer of the program! It doesn't mean I think it's perfect, but it's 10 times better that the high schools programs where all the students want to do is get out of school early and make some money! For students to enter the YA program they have to commit to this field as their job priority as they go to school for most of the year before they earn any money. I've had 7 students that worked for me in what I called the "get out of school early program". I don't think any of them continued in the automotive field after school. All of the students I've had (6) from the Auto Tech YA program are still in the automotive field somewhere. As they say, "There's a night and day difference between the two programs!" "


Dave Bemowski, POWER Engineers, Inc., Plover

"POWER's Plover office has been hiring YA students for more than 10 years. The time it takes to find qualified students is reduced through the YA-Engineering program, dramatically reducing the cost to POWER in finding new hires. POWER has benefitted from the YA program by finding low cost employees who are able to perform drafting and other duties freeing up office staff to perform more difficult engineering and designer tasks. Liability has not been a factor in hiring students because all work is performed by students with POWER supervision and the completed work is approved by a designer or engineer. The first YA student POWER hired is currently a full time employee. Past YA students, now attending college, contact POWER when they are on breaks looking for work. This gives POWER the opportunity to hire trained workers if the work load at that time requires more help."


Tracy Ostrowski, Valley Communities Credit Union, Mosinee

"Valley Communities has a total of three YA students, all of whom have been a great asset to Valley Communities Credit Union. Whenever we have a part-time opening at any of our six branch offices, we first consider a YA student because we have had such great success with the students."

Leah Nessler, Tri City National Bank, South Milwaukee

"YA has been valuable to me because it has given my company and students the chance to grow. The Youth Apprenticeship Program proves its value on a daily basis at Tri City National Bank. Although the program is typically instituted for a short period of time, many students stay on with Tri City National Bank to develop their careers after graduation. We have found the students in the YA are able to acquire job knowledge, provide useful feedback and develop new ideas within a short time of their start date. The hard work and dedication that these students show, all while balancing work and school, encourages the rest of the staff to work equally as hard."

Julie Chacon, Educator's Credit Union, Racine

"[The YA students] have really grown into responsible young adults while attending school, taking on part time job with our Credit Union, and working through the programs offered to them.

"The Youth Apprenticeship Program has been a valuable tool that we use while the students are employed here. It helps us stay on track with the students overall goals as a student. We take those guidelines outlined and mentor them to become successful adults. Hopefully, they take all the information they have learned and continue to use it as they move forward."

Mark D. Schowalters, Port Washington State Bank, Port Washington

"Youth Apprenticeship has been valuable to us because a younger point of view and enthusiasm to learn brings a little excitement to the workplace. All of our employees get a chance to be a mentor to some degree and enjoy that interaction. We also end up with a well trained employee that may continue with us."

Mary Schultz, Reedsburg Branch Manager, Western Co-op Credit Union, Reedsburg

"Youth Apprenticeship has been valuable to our business because it gave/gives tremendous opportunity to interact with Gen-X, connect with our local high school, see the growth and maturity in our candidates and the confidence gained -- plus fills and providesa vital role in our staffing to serve our credit union members!"


Haley Giman, Divine Savior Extended Care, Portage

"Youth Apprenticeship has been valuable to us as it allows young individuals to experience and explore the various healthcare employment options available and to develop a sense of pride and responsibility in their chosen field."

Joan Kleinschmidt, Golden Living Center, Rib Lake

"[Youth Apprenticeship] gives our facility and residents an opportunity to stay connected with our community, more specifically, with younger people in our community. Our residents enjoy the enthusiasm and energy that young people bring to their job. They encourage our residents to interact and offer new relationships to develop. The YA program has also provided a service from which we can obtain CNAs to help out at peak times that we need extra staff (i.e., nights and weekends). It has been a win-win situation for us."

Christie Grubbs, Golden Living Center, Rib Lake

"It is great to get the younger generation involved in this setting. It brings up many new situations for both generations. Having this program in this facility is a benefit."

Stacey L. Glidden, Grand Prairie Health and Rehab Center, Pleasant Prairie

"We continue to have the pleasure of watching young people grow in their new role and excel towards their future goals. All of our YA students have been an asset to our facility and residents."

Steven Kuranz, Oak Ridge Care Center, Union Grove

"We have been fortunate to be associated with YA for the last several years. In that time, Oak Ridge Care Center has employed several students and found them to be consistently hard working and motivated. I also believe that the experience that they receive working at Oak Ridge is very beneficial to their future career planning. Overall, I believe that the YA program is a win-win situation for both students and out facility."

Dawn Nimitz, Lasata Care Center, Cedarburg

"The [YA] program has provided a service to our facility. The program is a wonderful opportunity for today's youth to learn skills that will be beneficial to them in the future, all while still in school! As a mentor, I have seen students grow and develop into strong leaders and role models as they become the "health care heroes" of tomorrow! Students develop confidence and genuine compassion for the residents that they work with. It is a pleasure mentoring."

Lesley A. Hammer, Hammer Chiropractic, LLC, Milton

"We have been fortunate to utilize the Youth Apprenticeship program since 1999. The YA program has given us the opportunity to access a viable teen workforce while exposing teens to the healthcare field. The program offers youth the chance to explore different career paths and then give them an idea of what career they may choose. The student apprentices we have had the good fortune to employ have learned everyday business skills that they will be able to apply to any field they chose. The students learn good customer service skills by their exposure to customers from all walks of life. The students also learn the importance of working with other employees and an employer in a team setting. The experience provides a real world idea of how employees are expected to act and what is expected of them in the future.

"The YA program has always sent dependable students with a willingness to learn. The [YA Coordinator] provides mentoring to both the student and the employer. Any issues that arise during employment, the coordinator is available to support the needs of the employer and the students. The YA program has been valuable to me because we have met some great young adults, trained them to use real life skills and benefitted from diversified workforce."

Debbie Briggs, St. Anne's Salvatorian Campus, Milwaukee

"St. Anne's currently employs five Milwaukee Public high school students as nursing assistants. We find that high school students contribute to the quality of life of our residents because they are enthusiastic and have fresh ideas about resident care and are very caring and compassionate with the residents. As "new" CNAs, they have not yet picked up "bad habits" and can be molded into the type of employee needed in our facility and the residents love them! By being accepted into the Health Youth Apprenticeship program they are serious students that prove to have a good work ethic and attendance. They "choose" to do this type of work because their future goals include working in health care and they really want to do this type of work.

"[As for work hours], I take advantage of things like Easter break, Christmas break and summer also. I also want to say that my high school students are the most reliable when it comes to attending "mandatory" in-services, and I find that often the YA students are the ones choosing to pick up more holidays because they are off school. During the summer and school breaks, they are the ones we can count on to pick up extra hours…..and they don't fall in to overtime. I just think it is a great program! We get quality employees who are loved by the residents and the students get a valuable learning opportunity. The will be the future nurses, lab techs, physicians who take care of us. We need to give them a chance."

Heather Johnson, Upland Hills Nursing and Rehab Center, Dodgeville

"I have been a nurse for fourteen years. I was recently promoted to the position of Director of Nursing and have only recently become aware of how much time, effort, and dedication goes into making this program successful. I can only speak to the one young lady whom we currently employee within our facility who is a participant in the YA program. I have been impressed with the maturity with how April conducts herself. She is kind to the residents and thorough in her work. She has developed strong interpersonal relationships with her fellow employees and has shown herself to be responsible in the duties assigned to her. April plans on pursuing a career as an LPN after graduation from High School and I have no doubt that she will be a wonderful asset to the healthcare field.

"It is through opportunities such as the YA program that we as employers and mentors are able to support and encourage young men and women to find direction to meaningful career paths. As the face of healthcare continues to change, we are provided with opportunities such as the YA program to promote careers in the healthcare industry and provide guidance along the way as to how to navigate the multitude of opportunities available. As I stated earlier, I have been a nurse for fourteen years. This is not the career path that I chose initially, though it is a path that I have found rewarding, but not without challenges. It is due to a few very dedicated nurses with whom I have worked throughout the years, who have made an indelible mark on my own career. Though not a formal mentoring program, these individuals took the time to share their knowledge and through their actions everyday helped me appreciate the path I had chosen. Programs such as the YA program create an atmosphere in which educators and employers work hand in hand to foster personal growth in our youth. The "real life" skills that these young men and women experience through the apprentice program cannot be replicated in the classroom. Each of the components is important for the success of the students. It is not only the tasks and duties that are learned during the employment, but life lessons in how to maintain healthy work relationships, develop effective communication skills, and to see firsthand how many challenges others face on a day to day basis that make this program unique and important for the youth who participate.

"I would have no hesitation in sponsoring another student through this beneficial program. It has been a pleasure having April work for us. As she moves forward in the next phase of her life and graduation is behind her, I only hope that she can translate what she has learned through her time with us and continue to move forward in attaining her goals. As I write this, I am reminded that it is National Healthcare Week, I feel it only fitting that the words of Florence Nightingale close this letter.

"So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself." --Florence Nightingale"

Jennifer Rhea, Ministry Health, Weston

"Youth Apprenticeship has been valuable to our business because it has allowed us to get students in the door early in their careers as CNAs. We have had the opportunity to hire one of our first youth apprentices as a Registered Nurse."


Andy Preissner, A to Z Machine Company, Appleton

"We think Youth Apprenticeship is valuable because it provides direct experience and exposure for students who are interested in the CNC Machine trade. This is a great opportunity for students to spend a year or more of school learning and experiencing the trade, and figure out if it is right for them, while we (A to Z Machine Co.) get some time to see if we would like to hire them on once they graduate. We are utilizing this program to not only develop our own CNC Machinists, but to also increase exposure for the field. Instead of accepting status quo and succumbing to the constant news that less and less individuals are pursuing skilled trades, we are proactively working to develop the professionals of tomorrow. Manufacturing is not what it once was and we need highly skilled and passionate individuals to join our team and help our business grow. This is an excellent opportunity to change the perception of manufacturing one student at a time."

Bonnie R. Reekie, USEMCO, Inc., Tomah

"The Youth Apprenticeship program has been a very valuable tool to USEMCO, Inc. We first started with the [YA] program during the 1996-1997 school year. We have had at least two to three students each school year. I think the program works well because we are able to take the students when they are still in their early learning stages and mold them to the way our business works. At this stage they do not have a preconceived notion of the skills and education needed and are able to adopt more easily to the way USEMCO manufactures our unique products and the specific techniques used and exactly what is entailed in our business. It is like molding a piece of clay to exactly how we want it.

"Several of our most valued production workers came through the [YA] program. In fact, we would love to be able to clone one of them because he is in such great demand from several different departments.

"At this time we have eight full time employees that came to us through this program."

Douglas Kamps, Multitek North America, Prentice

"YA has been very good for us and the student. It gives us the opportunity to work with the new generation of young adults to see what motivates them and keeps them interested in learning more. It also has the potential of building the relationship with our youth which will keep them wanting to stay and work in the area after they graduate. We have the opportunity to learn and grow together. Great Program!"

Ron Polum, Pointe Precision, Plover

"Currently 19% of our machine operators are either previous Apprenticeship students or currently enrolled in the program. Some of our most valued long term employees are developed through this program. By being involved with the students when they are beginning their careers, we can tailor the training to meet our company's needs and beliefs."

Dawn Kubiak, Midwest Products and Engineering, Glendale

"Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship has been valuable to our company because it allows us to change the perception that manufacturing is dying in Milwaukee and gives us the ability to open students' eyes to the opportunities within our growing, progressive company. Many students are not aware of the high-level of skill and challenges that modern manufacturing offers, the Youth Apprenticeship programs provides that conduit between the students and our company. Due to the nature of our business (we engineer and manufacture mobility solutions for our customers such as medical carts and enclosures but our name isn't on the finished products), our name is not easily recognized by the public and we would not be able attract these students without these programs.

"We have had quite a bit of success retaining our Youth Apprentices after they complete the program and continue working for us. Some have also pursued additional formal education utilizing our tuition reimbursement program while continuing their career with us. We feel strongly that school-to-work partnerships are a critical need for our organization to recruit our future talent. We also feel that YA fulfills the strong need for students to be exposed to career paths out there that do not have to include going onto a 4 year university program but are still highly-skilled, well paying positions (especially in Milwaukee)."

Darla Viegut, HR Manager, Colby Metal, Colby

"Colby Metal, Inc. has been involved in the YA Program for many years. We are extremely pleased with the experience, not only with the students but also with YA Coordinators. The direction that the students receive and the collaboration I have with the Coordinators is second to none. Together, with the students, our goal is for them to be successful within our organization. The results have been positive as we have been able to retain the YA participants as members of our workforce. I strongly encourage involvement in this program."

Email DWD DWD Photo Gallery DWD on Twitter DWD on Facebook DWD on YouTube DWD on LinkedIn DWD RSS Feed

A proud partner of the network