Youth Apprenticeship Programs Provide Hands-on Experience Before Students Choose a Career Pathway


Photo by: Zach Kramp

Youth apprenticeship programs provide hands-on experience before students choose a career pathway. Miron Construction is a youth apprenticeship location, in Neenah, WI.

Zach Kramp, Student of Journalism

Apprenticeships can be a key connection to the world of work, and employers take pride in supporting students, Tania Kilpatrick, CESA 6 Director of College and Career Readiness Center, said.

Apprenticeships offer an opportunity for students that are questioning their career and college options to make sure they have a plan for their future.  Especially with the increase in the price of college as noted in Forbes, March 28, more and more high school students are choosing hands-on learning through youth apprenticeships.

Youth apprenticeship programs are available through the Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA 6) in coordination with NHS.  Students are able to graduate career-ready by gaining skills and experiences with employers and industry partners, according to Inspire WI.

Inspire WI strives to provide all students in Wisconsin with meaningful career-based learning experiences through Inspire WI and employers with the opportunity to support the cultivation of the next generation of talent.

Students that apply and get accepted into the apprenticeship program will have opportunities to explore careers in finance, manufacturing, marketing, hospitality, health science, construction, natural resources, information technology and much more.

“I decided to do a youth apprenticeship because it offers you real-world experience early on for a career you want to do when you get older,” Kaiden Lambert, a senior at NHS and current Youth Apprentice. Starting in September 2022, Lambert has been an Information Technologies apprentice at Miron Construction in Neenah.

Lambert is using this experience to set his path for college when he attends the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2023 for Computer Science. Miron Construction is one of the employers that support the apprenticeship program. According to the CESA 6 Youth Apprenticeship website, there are approximately 11 career sectors and 55 career pathways that students can explore, learn about a specific career, and receive on-the-job training.

“Employers take great pride in supporting students in the Youth Apprenticeship program. It is an opportunity for them to excite and educate the next generation of leadership and talent for their organizations,” Kilpatrick of CESA 6 said.

Kilpatrick explained many advantages of the youth apprenticeship program, emphasizing the hands-on experiences the program provides.

“In a youth apprenticeship, students are introduced to multiple aspects of an industry or job to help broaden their knowledge, this is best delivered on work-based learning. This hands-on experience helps students find their career interests and can help them make decisions about their future goals,” Kilpatrick said.

Students can use a youth apprenticeship to help process the big decisions that happen during their high school career, the questions about what a student plans to do after high school. Youth apprenticeships are one of the many opportunities that students can utilize as part of their decision-making process. For example, it provides students with connections to potential employers which can lead to a career path of interest.

“This experience can set students apart when applying for jobs after high school and boost their work resume,” Kilpatrick said.

To learn more about work-based learning opportunities to explore a future career path or area of study for college, students can connect with the school counselor to set up a meeting with a CESA 6 College and Career Readiness Center Consultant. The process can start by researching the CESA 6 Youth Apprenticeship website or exploring the WI Department of Workforce Development website.

Kilpatrick shared that CESA 6 will have a virtual information session through their website on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.