Youth Apprenticeship Program with total Mechanical
Wisconsin's Youth Apprenticeship program is a part of a statewide School-to-Work initiative. It is designed for high school students who want hands on learning in an occupational area at a worksite along with classroom instruction.
Bringing high school students into a construction Youth Apprenticeship position is no easy task, but together with our labor partners at Local 601, we were able to bring on five area high students for a yearlong YA position with several area employers.
Gaven, a senior at Brookfield East High School, is working at Total Mechanical primarily focusing on HVAC service work. Going to jobsites, meeting customers, and troubleshooting are all part of a day’s work for Gaven.
“I’ve learned so many different things. How to talk to customers and what to look for and fix on an A/C unit has been a great experience. It has definitely impacted my life and opened up my eyes for the trades. I’m highly considering this as a career,” says Gaven.
The response from the employer is equally positive. “Our Youth Apprentice, Gaven, is proving to be an excellent employee. He is punctual, considerate and a hard worker. Although we have assigned him a variety of work, he’s spent most of his time with a single Mentor in the field. We continually receive very positive reports which made Gaven’s first progress review a pleasure to facilitate,’ says Jack Schirpke, Vice President of Environmental Services Division at Total Mechanical. “He’s made a great impression so far and we see no reason why he wouldn’t be offered an apprenticeship once he has completed high school. Gaven is on the road to a great career and Total Mechanical, Inc. is happy with their choice to be a part of this progressive program that gives youth an insight into the trades. Not everyone is suited to be a service technician or construction worker but what a great way to find out if it’s the right path for you."
Students participating in the program this year attended a 40-hour employer paid work-ready training at Local 601 which included OSHA 10 and First Aid training. Students and employers worked to establish mutually amicable summer hours and revisited the work schedule once the school year began. By being released from school during part of the day, YA students are using that time to work in the field, earn school credit, make money, and be exposed to real-world work experiences.