Expanding Youth Apprenticeships

Connecting Students with Careers

A crucial component of Gov. Walker’s plan to keep Wisconsin working for generations to come is the expansion of the state of Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship programming. Youth Apprenticeship is a key tool for improving educational outcomes and employment opportunities for students, which is why as part of his plan, Governor Walker is expanding Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program all the way down to 7th and 8th graders.

The expanded Youth Apprenticeship program will provide hands-on, age-appropriate opportunities both in the classroom and in the community across a variety of industries. Providing this curriculum earlier will ensure Wisconsin’s students know all of the educational opportunities and career paths that are available to them, and help to plan their classroom learning for the years ahead.

The expansion of Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program will continue the collaboration between students, schools, and employers to provide Wisconsin’s students with the opportunities they need in the industries that need them.

Our Plan:

Currently, Youth Apprenticeships are available for 11th and 12th Under the governor’s plan, programming associated with Youth Apprenticeships will now be available to the remainder of Wisconsin’s high school students, as well as 7th and 8th graders.

The expanded Youth Apprenticeship program will provide age-appropriate curriculum to Wisconsin’s students. This means utilizing fabrication laboratories (Fab Labs) and classroom content for our middle schools and on-the-job training for our high schools, all while making sure the classroom curriculum aligns with where they’re heading.

Allowing Wisconsin’s students to identify earlier the industries they may be interested in will increase their engagement with their schoolwork and provide a jumpstart to their career, even allowing them to begin apprenticeships in high school. We’re putting Wisconsin’s students in control of their learning and future.

Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program has more than doubled its student participation, from 1,827 students in 2008 to 4,365 students in 2018.


Wisconsin was one of the first states in the country to pass legislation in 1991 creating a statewide Youth Apprenticeship system for high school students. The program was created as part of a broader school-to-work transition initiative, which also included tech prep, post-secondary enrollment options and a statewide student assessment system.

The first graduate of Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program was in 1994 and since then the program has grown exponentially, seeing almost 166% percent growth over the past eight years in student participation and 170% percent growth over the past eight years in employer participation. Wisconsin is expanding this successful programming to include Wisconsin’s middle schoolers to ensure they’re prepared for Wisconsin’s workforce needs.

The Youth Apprenticeship program is currently funded via a grant program provided by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for juniors and seniors in high school. Grants are provided to local consortiums consisting of employers, school districts, and community partners.


Key Statistics:

Included below are the numbers of participating students and employers over each school year, as well as the amount of grant dollars awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to local consortiums:

Fiscal Year/School Year

Students Employers

Grant Commitment – Contracted

























2011-2012 1,625 1,161


2010-2011 1,638 1,135 $1,575,842