A number of Chippewa Falls businesses came to an area high school Wednesday to see if they’re the right fit for a partnership that could help deliver their future workforce.

Chippewa Falls Senior High School hosted “Youth Apprenticeship Interview Day” in association with the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA 10), a local educational consultant who assists with facilities management, learning services and agency leadership. The purpose of the event was to see if area businesses would be a good fit for the Youth Apprenticeship program in the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District.

CESA 10 Learning Services Career and Technical Education and Youth Apprenticeship Consultant Gwen Skoyen said the event and program were open to any type of businesses looking to make a connection with area students.

“Any company that’s looking to make a connection with an individual to perhaps be a long-term employee, or be an employee that would come back after their post-secondary education, can apply to be a part of Youth Apprenticeship,” Skoyen said. “It’s really about making that connection before the student goes to college or into the workforce after graduation.”

The Youth Apprenticeship program is a collaboration between individual schools, their students and area businesses to help foster a relationship before they enter the workforce. Businesses are invited to become partner employers and employ high school juniors and seniors who will work approximately 450 hours throughout the year, including the summer.

The employers and schools in this program collaborate to make sure the job duties match up with the program or career pathway the student is on, according to the Department of Workforce Development check list. There are a multitude of different pathways and interests students can latch onto, including skilled labor areas such as manufacturing.

Skoyen said this a great opportunity for the businesses applying for the program in addition the hands on training the students will receive.

“It’s wonderful that a company can try out an employee without any obligation to retain that person if things don’t work out,” Skoyen said. “It sets everyone up to succeed.”

A few more of the positive aspects of the program include reducing the potential cost for recruitment and training for the businesses, creating a strong bond with local schools, and students getting the opportunity to start planning out their careers before graduation.

The interview day was the first step in preparing the next batch of businesses partners in the Youth Apprenticeship program and building a strong bond in the community, Skoyen said.

“It’s great to see the relationship building and community partnership between the school district and the employers,” Skoyen said. “We do have a lot of interest in the areas once we get businesses to have students involved in their organization. We’ve been doing some panel discussions between former students and business partners to talk about the benefits that they’ve seen throughout. It’s a good way to mentor students and good for the businesses to get their name out there as well.”

For more information on the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program, visit the CESA 10 website.

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(1) comment


At a recent Senate Committee meeting in Madison, the youth apprenticeship program was called a test drive for students. I hope this label doesn't stick. If area businesses are committed financially, state so. High School guidance counselors use to fill the career path role. This program could be called trial and error as well. So many state programs with good intentions fall short due to the unknown factor.......the student.

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