Milwaukee Apprenticeship Program Builds the Future

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LaResha Love says working for Mortenson Construction changed her life.

Beginning in January when she was a senior at Bradley Tech High School until she left for college at University of Wisconsin-Stout a few weeks ago, Love worked as a youth apprentice for Mortenson at the new Milwaukee Bucks arena construction site.

This academic year, 250 MPS students will have the opportunity to participate in the statewide youth apprenticeship program – up from 46 last year – made possible by Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) funding.

As youth apprentices, high school juniors and seniors work at local companies based on their subject interests, earning income and experience. Milwaukee Public School works with the employers to match the students with mentors.

The statewide youth apprenticeship program has been connecting students to employers since the 1990s. Because MPS's program will experience exponential growth this year, school leaders must now find more employers to participate.

“They need to be aware of this pipeline of young talent,” said Terri Salzer, MPS’s youth apprenticeship coordinator. In many cases, employers assume young people lack the interest, related coursework and experience to work successfully in a professional environment, she noted.

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