Student Testimonials

The quotes used on this page are given by students who have or are currently enrolled in a Youth Apprenticeship program.

From a former Machining YA Student (submitted by employer Ron Polum), Pointe Precision

"[As a student in a college engineering program, I am] finding out I surprise people when I tell them that I worked at a CNC shop for 2 years and have a general idea of the operations, then I get the question... and you're only a freshman? Working at [Point Precision] has a huge impact on how people look at me as far as an engineer."


Kacy O’Haver, Washington Park HS

"YA taught me the responsibilities and knowledge that I know I will need as I go off to college and start my life as a young independent. It also has given me an insight into possible career choice."

Taneal Kurszewski, Wittenberg-Birnamwood HS

"YA gave me the help I needed to be directed towards my career goal. It gave me useful knowledge that will help me with not only a career, but also on a personal level. Because I had the opportunity to be in YA, I will be able to add this particular achievement to my future applications when applying for a job. Joining YA will benefit any student who decides to take part. I encourage all students to join!"

Travis West, Plymouth HS

"My coursework and the Youth Apprenticeship [program] are getting me ready for college…and life after college. It’s really opening doors faster than I can walk through them."

Zachary Smith, Arrowhead HS

"This last year I had every intention of finishing the program. I had finished my job shadows, got A's in all my night classes and only required 200 more hours of work experience to get my one year certification. I even had all my competencies checked off from my previous job. However, as I was in process of interviewing when my best friend tragically died in a skiing accident in Colorado. There is no warning or guidelines for loss like this, especially being in my youth. As I mourned through the rest of high school, attaining another CNA position was not in my best interest."

"Although I did not finish, I feel as if I received all I could from this program. I learned very quickly that nursing is not my calling. I learned in my job shadows what being a professional in the medical field looked like on the other side. I learned how to interview and how to fill out a job application. I am very humbled and appreciative for what this program has taught me. You don't learn these things in a classroom. It was really sink or swim territory. I have heard of the recent changes in the program and I am thrilled for the future graduates."

"Lastly, I want to address my instructors. These women have loved me through this program since my sophomore year. They have given this program a face and a strong voice at Arrowhead. All too often we forget to acknowledge the help we received along the way. They read my emails, looked into my questions and held me accountable in my requirements. They are the reason I lasted so long in this program. Truly, I would have resigned my junior year when I was overwhelmed by life, but they made the program manageable for my schedule."


Shanen Stainer, Menomonie HS

Stainer Farms. "YA has allowed me to learn more about working on the farm. I have been allowed the opportunity to work on my family farm and help with different activities every day. I enjoy working for my grandpa because we work well together and push each other to stay on task and get work done. It has been nice being there for my grandpa during the day because he can't do everything by himself and it gives him someone to talk to and run ideas by. I have learned to do things that I haven't done before, like changing a tractor tire and plowing the fields. I also have appreciated that he asks for my opinion on ideas before he just does them. I feel I have gained respect and responsibility over this past year by working on the farm in YA."

Jeff Rose, Reedsburg HS 

"I'm getting hands on training that you can't get in a classroom. Production Agriculture is hard to learn in a classroom setting. You can't learn how to properly treat animals, do fieldwork, milk, feed and other things that are done on a farm without the on-site experience. You can get a better understanding of the area by actually doing those tasks than learning about them in a class. Everyone does things different. What works for one farm doesn't always work for everyone else. When you learn about it in class, it's not always right for your farm. By being able to learn in a classroom and on the job it helps you get better understanding of the career."

Morgan Zernicke, Wausau West 

"I've been in the Youth Apprenticeship program for two years. My first year I worked at Zernicke Farm, doing field work, barn chores and feeding calves. Currently I'm working at Marathon Feed, where I provide customer service and do anything I am asked to do. I always wanted to go into the agricultural field, but my job at Marathon Feed has made me think more about what I really want to do for my future career. I've made the choice to stay in the agri-business area. I've been accepted to Northcentral Technical College this fall. I will graduate with an associate's degree in Dairy Science Agri-business and hope to work in Marathon or Lincoln County after graduation. The YA program has helped me discover that a career in agriculture is a good fit for me."


Brandon Tetzlaff, Menomonie HS
Quality Auto Body. 

"I have been attending an exploratory auto collision class at Chippewa Valley Technical College and I am employed at Quality Auto Body. At school, I have been learning entry level basics for preparing and refinishing body panels. At work, I get to observe the auto body business everyday and see everything that is going on and how it is run. As a detailer there, I have gotten to be part of the team and have felt the pride of a job well done."

"I have learned many interpersonal skills through YA like initiative, reliability, and enthusiasm.  I have also learned responsibility.  I punch a time clock like everyone else and have my duties that I have to get done.  I have learned to work with others and have seen what happens to those people that do not meet the boss's expectations.  I have learned what is needed to be a good employee."

"YA is a terrific experience for any student.  It gives them a chance to see the real world of business and the economy in action.  It also gives them the skills they need to prepare them to succeed in their future occupations."

Ryan Stauske, Grafton HS

Schmidt Ford.  "I have learned a lot more about cars and how a business is run.  It has been an extremely positive experience for me.  It is more than I would have learned at home or at school."

Jacob Beck, Cedarburg HS

Krueger's Auto Tech.  "YA furthers my knowledge of automotives, not in a classroom, but in real life situations."

Drafting & Design

Calvin Rupnow, Cedarburg HS

Rockwell Automation.  "For the past year and a half I have been working for Rockwell Automation.  My experience there could not have gone any better.  All of the people have been so kind and I have learned a lot.  I first got into the program not knowing anything about it.  But going into it without expectations made it even better personally.  I also believe that going through this experience will put me ahead of others in countless ways.  I have been taught by extremely skilled individuals and this will help me greatly as I move on from high school to college.  I plan to study mechanical engineering at MSOE next year.  Further on, YA will help me get a better position once done with school.  If anyone is willing to put forth the effort it takes for this program, it is more than worth it.  All of the skills you learn and take away are more worth it to participate in this program."


Richard Berger, South Milwaukee HS

Tri City National Bank.  "YA helps me in the career that I want to go into and it is really fun."

Ashley Bintz, Port Washington HS

Port Washington State Bank.  "As a youth apprentice I have been able to establish valuable characteristics that will help me in future experiences.  My time at the bank has taught me responsibility, people skills, as well as an understanding of the banking system.  I have been trusted with transactions that include handling asset of both our customers and the company’s.  Everything I have learned while working here can be applied to my future school and work endeavors.  I've had the honor of working for a great family run business.  It is a place filled with dedicated and talented professionals who have taught me a lot in my past two years here."

Meghen Meister, Reedsburg HS

Westby Co-op Credit Union.  "Aside from all the great people I've met, I have learned so much about the financial world.  This experience has helped me realize how planning ahead is so important to controlling your money."

Kailey, Finance YA

"This is my first job and it is a great experience to work with so many people more knowledgeable than me.  It has been useful because I won't waste money in college trying to figure out what I want to do.  At the credit union, I feel part of the team, building trust with members and helping them be successful."

Trent, Finance YA

"Even with all the sports I do, it has been a great experience.  I want to go into business and the credit union has really worked around my school and sports schedule.  YA has really helped me to learn to be more organized and responsible."

Cory Marquardt, D.C. Everest

Brokaw Credit Union: "Last year, Mrs. Meronek, the Finance Youth Apprentice coordinator for D.C. Everest, asked me if I would like a job working at a bank. I said yes, and I called my parents and they agreed it was a good thing as well. That day I wrote my first resume during lunch and had my first job interview that afternoon. I got the call the next day that I was hired at Brokaw Credit Union as their new Finance Youth Apprentice."

"I was very excited to start working there, but the first day was brutal. I remember going home afterward and telling my parents that I had no idea what was going on and that banking was a lot harder than I thought it would be. As time went, it got easier; the employees at the Credit Union were very helpful, and I got the hang of it. Working at Brokaw Credit Union is a huge privilege. Brokaw Credit Union has a branch on the D.C. Everest campus so I work there during the school day. The flexibility and more importantly the learning I have received from BCU have been unmatched. In fall, Mrs. Meronek made me aware of another opportunity. This time it was a totally different job, but still through the Finance Youth Apprenticeship program. Again I talked to my parents about taking on a second job. At first they didn't like the idea of me doing so much because they were afraid I wouldn't have time for it all. I agreed it would be a lot, but I wanted to take it on. They let me go after it because they have always been very supportive. I filled out the application, had my interviews, and I am currently working at both Aflac and Brokaw Credit Union and love every minute. For a junior in high school, that may seem like a lot, but I want to set myself up the best so I can achieve greater accomplishments later. Every success story starts somewhere, and my success story starts with the Finance Youth Apprenticeship Program."

Health Science

Hailey Niemi, Prentice HS

Golden Living Center.  "YA allows me to work while receiving credit for it.  Also, it will help me in the future because it looks good on an application.  It allows me to get into the workforce and teaches me what the real world is like."

Ruth Pena

"This program has been such an investment for my future because it has exposed me to many opportunities in the medical field.  This program has also helped me to explore many diverse careers that one day I myself may want to acquire.  More than just giving me knowledge, this program has benefitted me in my communication skills.

Through being able to examine this career, it has made me sure this is something I could do in the near future.  Working in the Oncology Unit at the hospital has been such a fulfilling experience because I have helped different patients and others in need, and it has really shown the potential that life holds. 

The passion I feel for patient care directs me to make everyone's stay at the hospital one of recovery and of encouragement.  There have been innumerable times I have found myself utilized as a friend to patients who may not have anyone to care for them.  Being there for another person and relating to their needs is a fulfillment [for me]because it [means] that I have accomplished my duty of giving more than just patient care satisfaction, but also creating that special bond of trust from one person to another.

This program has taught me to gradually mature into a young adult.  This job has guided me to challenge myself and prove to my supervisors and co-workers that [high school students are responsible].  It is a vast responsibility to learn to prioritize school, job, extracurricular activities and church all together.  This program has given me a chance to feel independent.  It has motivated me to continue working in the medical field.  Two years ago I couldn't have imagined myself doing anything so meaningful as this.

Presently the global economy has not improved, it has become expensive to continue education, but it's the only way to have a successful future."

Maira Espino, Horlick HS

"Through this program I learned a lot of things like how it's important to be outgoing, to trust one another and how hard it is to find a job!  I used to be very quiet, but through this program, I've been working on being more outgoing with others.  I really didn't trust others, but through this program, I've learned it's not a bad idea.  It's actually good trusting others because then you don't feel alone. "

Kayla Pena, Case HS

Oak Ridge Care Center.  "Throughout my years of taking medical terminology classes and health education, I would have to say that Health YA is an experience of a life time.  It is not every day that a high school student my age gets to do the things I do.  I went to Gateway Technical College to take the CNA class so I could get my certification.  This class prepared me to work in a hospital environment helping people in any way necessary.  As a CNA in YA, I have grown and developed into a well-rounded person.  I have learned life skills including cooking, volunteering, public speaking, responsibility, and time management skills.  The program has exposed me to the medical work force at the age of 16.  It is a chance to help me experience medicine first hand to see if I like it or not.  This will help me in the future to decide which path in the medical field I would like to pursue." 

Elizabeth Hallstrand, Prentice HS

Aspirus Pleasant View Nursing Home.  "I have gotten the chance to get hands on experience in the field I intend on going into for a career.  Being a CNA really strengthened my desire to go into the medical field.  My job was very rewarding in so many ways.  I wouldn't trade my memories or love for the people at the nursing home for anything in the world.  It helped shape me into the person I am today."

Megan Heikkinen, Prentice HS

Golden Age Nursing Home.  "Youth Apprenticeship has been an eye opening experience to me and has taught me a lot. The YA program has taught me responsibility by making me aware of how important it is to be prepared and to work on time.  And because sometimes I don't get home from work until ten on school nights, I had to learn to manage my time wisely and use every free minute to my advantage.  I believe that the work I do after school will not only benefit me now but in my future as well. When I'm attending college and have to get a job to earn extra money, it will not be such a stressful shock to me because that's what I am currently doing.

I would strongly recommend Youth Apprenticeship to student because it creates a well-rounded student and prepare the upper classmen for college.  Students should find a job that interests them and is appealing to then; something that will help them to get a jump start on their college degree and future.  By doing work in their field of interest, it helps students to get experience and may cause them to change their mind about the degree they plan to get.

The Youth Apprenticeship program helps open student's eyes to trying new things and challenging themselves a little bit.  It's hard work but will pay off in many aspects of daily life.  The program is a great experience and I would recommend it to all students that are up for a challenge and are ready to get a jump start on their future ahead."

Alyssa C. Dziedzic, Grafton HS

Lasata Care Center.  "My experience as a youth apprentice has, of course, been a positive one.  It was a vast transition from where I was to where I am now.  Before, I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I always had Nursing in mind.  I didn't realize before going through this program how much I didn't know about the field, and now that have become more acquainted with the medical field, I made my final decision to become a nurse.  By being part of this program, I am already well on my way to doing this.  After completing the Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) course as part of the program, I tested with the state and became officially registered by the State of Wisconsin as a CNA.  Then the program got me the job at Lasata, where I continually learn and become very comfortable working with patients, as well as earn money for college next year.  I also learned after being accepted to college that you have to have your CNA license before entering the nursing program which some others were not as lucky as I was to already have."

Courtney Carlson, Prentice HS

Aspirus Pleasant View Nursing Home.  "YA has helped me learn how to manage my time and use my time wisely.  It has given me the chance to be able to work under an employer.  I have also learned how to manage my money because when I would get a paycheck, I would limit myself on how much money I could take out for spending money for fun."

Michaela Ketchum, Wausau West

"Not many students could say their senior year has been as victorious as mine has been. As a full-time student at Wausau West High School working as a certified nursing assistant at Kindred Transitional Care, I have strived better to be not only a family member and a student, but a friend to many new patients that I care about deeply. The Youth Apprenticeship program has taken me down numerous exciting and new roads that have helped direct my future. Without this program, I would have never been so eager to plan my future as a registered nurse. While being a CNA, I have had so many opportunities to understand how essential the health field is and what struggles are truly out there. The Youth Apprenticeship program is such an important milestone for a student's life and can even help them to find the key to their future."

Information Technology

Mitchell A. Krenz, Greenfield HS

iit-Source Tech.  "The YA program has given me an opportunity to work in the field that I wish to pursue.  Because of the YA program, I was able to get a job that actually means something to me, rather than working at some establishment that would give me little potential to grow.  At iit-SourceTech I am learning new and valuable things every single day, not just about my field but about being a better employee and adhering to expected standards.  When I was in high school, I didn't feel like I was learning much from my typical classes.  Because of the YA program, I was able to work half days and do something meaningful at work.  Because of the YA program, I have been exposed to some incredible intelligent and helpful individuals who have taught me an unbelievable amount of things."

Andrew Cook, Necedah HS

"I have been lucky enough to work within my school's technology department for the last two years under the YA program.  My job is enjoyable because I get to help people closest to me, my own classmates and teachers.  Working at school has made the line between school and work fuzzy, but also more enjoyable as well as efficient.

As an apprentice, I get to experience the dirty work behind running and maintaining a computer network.  Due to the ever expanding capabilities of modern technology, an increased demand has come from within the school to match the latest trends.  This often means that cabling has to be run through our buildings to reach where needed.  This can be a messy job, but definitely not the worst.  Every year, every single one of the 200 plus computers needs to be cleaned of dust, and heave their hard drives reimaged with the newest programs.  Additionally, the lugging of heavy monitors or other equipment is common.

Due to my position, I have gained a high rapport with the staff at my school.  I am often caught in the hallways with a "Hey Andrew!  Do you have a minute?" and I'm always willing to help.  Troubleshooting is one of my favorite things to do under the wide variety of jobs that I do.  I have learned many tricks to make the equipment run like new again.  If I am unable to fix it right then, I now have the knowledge to determine if and which part needs replacements or if a more serious problem is at hand.  By far, my favorite thing to do has been developing computer programs for in-school use.  My most prized program is used daily by faculty and student alike, and keeps a record of where a student wishes to check in during our resource periods.

I feel as though the YA experience has given me valuable knowledge and insight on my field of intended study.  I am currently pledged to attend Milwaukee School of Engineering in the fall for software engineering; a specific program found only in 19 universities across the US." 


Todd Edinger, Prentice HS

Multitech and V & H Heavy Trucks.  "Being in YA has taught me to show up and be on time for work.  It also taught me to work with other people on things, even if I don't get along with them.  Because I work at V & H, I learned a lot about assembling trucks and adding accessories to semi-trucks.  Working through YA, I have been offered a job in this time where jobs are hard to find.  Students in the program are only allowed to miss 5 days of school each semester, so that gave me the ambition to come to school."


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