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Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is a highly successful talent acquisition strategy in which employers hire high school juniors or seniors for a one or two-year apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship, the student continues toward high school graduation and takes courses related to the profession as a way of enhancing what is being learned on the job. The YA Program is coordinated locally by regional consortia and overseen by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Each consortium typically includes several participating high schools. Employers may hire from more than one high school and even work with multiple consortia to meet their hiring needs.

YA Overview
YA Career Programs & Competencies

Students in the Youth Apprenticeship program are evaluated using an On-the-Job Learning Performance Standards Guide (OJL Guide). The OJL Guide outlines the career competencies and criteria for assessment to ensure that students are set up for career success. Worksite mentors and/or instructors use the OJL Guide to evaluate the student on each of the competencies. Progress Reviews are held at least three times per year to ensure the student is moving toward mastery of the job.

There are several career areas that are available through the Youth Apprenticeship program.  Each program area has required skills and different pathways to choose from.  For more information about each pathway and required competencies, visit the DWD OJ Performance Standards Guide webpage.

Student Resources

To be eligible to participate in the YA program, students must meet a list of requirements outlined in the YA Student Application Steps.

Students can enroll as early as June of their sophomore year (2 year program) or June of their Junior year (1 year program).  

The requirements of the program must be completed by August 31st following high school graduation.

Prior to the apprenticeship, a training agreement must be completed by the student, employer, parent/guardian, and YA coordinator.  In addition, students must complete a student registration form.

Employer Resources

The YA Program has been connecting employers with high school student talent for over 25 years, creating a scalable and successful program with input from industry. Employers extend permanent job offers to more than 75 percent of the graduating youth apprentices annually, making YA an excellent pipeline for recruiting and retaining loyal, well-trained talent.

The Employer Handbook is designed to introduce employers to the requirements of the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program. It is intended as a reference guide for those employers who have hired a youth apprentice and for those who are considering hiring a youth apprentice.

The Guide to Child Labor Laws provides information for employers, parents, and minors regarding employment regulations for all youth under 18 years of age.

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