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February 1st, 2022 | January 28, 2022 | Dean Leisgang

As the labor shortage continues to squeeze area employers, everyone is looking for solutions to recruit and retain the people they need to meet organizational goals. While the tendency is to look for short-term solutions, it is prudent to have a strategy to cultivate future talent, which can start as early as middle and high school. A new partnership between the Greater Green Bay Chamber, Cooperative Educational Service Agency 7 (CESA 7) and the Ahnapee Youth Apprenticeship Consortium is creating a regional solution to connect employers with thousands of students who want to work as a part of their high school experience.

The Northeastern Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship consortium (NEWYA) combines the strengths of three organizations to create a robust Academic and Career Planning program (ACP) customizable to individual school districts and a streamlined process for students to connect with employers and gain valuable workforce experience as youth apprentices.

“A school district’s mission is its promise to students, and districts have an opportunity to work in tandem with business and community partners to put the truth in advertising that “all means all” as they take Youth Apprenticeship implementation to the next level,” Colleen Timm/ CESA 7 Learning Services Director said. “NEWYA will ensure a clear pathway for measurable gains in student achievement, a diploma by design for all students, and a strengthened community. With the current opportunities available within the workforce, the time is now for all of us to come together to ensure that the students of today become tomorrow's innovative leaders.”

The Youth Apprenticeship program, funded by a state grant from the Department of Workforce Development and private investments, has transformed the Luxemburg Casco School District in three short years.

Under the leadership of Mike Snowberry and Jen Johnson, the program saw 600% growth in its work-based learning opportunities for students, aided by more than 500 business partnerships. “The Youth Apprenticeship Program is a game changer for high school students, as the experience creates maturity and develops a sense of purpose for their future,” Mike Snowberry/ Luxemburg Casco School District Learning Services Director commented.

In order to participate as a YA employer, businesses need to offer paid work experience for a high school junior or senior and provide a mentor to the student while they are on the job. The benefits include a young, eager learner who is excited to gain hands-on learning in an industry they are interested in exploring. In addition, the student is required to participate in related coursework, either at their high school or technical college.

“We are committed to solving the talent crisis that is prevalent across our community, state and country,” Eric Vanden Heuvel/Greater Green Bay Chamber Vice President of Talent and Education said. “Helping businesses connect with students through the youth apprenticeship program is a win-win solution, as many YA students transition to full time employees. This is a critical strategy to retain talented students produced by our local schools.”

To learn more about how you can get involved, please contact Jen Johnson at jejohnson@luxcasco.k12.wi.us. Our consortium is extremely excited to take ACP to new heights and to collaborate with school districts and businesses to create our future workforce.

  • NEW Construction Alliance
  • 2740 W Mason St, BT344
  • Green Bay, WI 54303