Youth Apprenticeship Program Earns Praise

DENMARK, Wis (WBAY) Action 2 News received a first-hand look at a state program that allows high school students the ability to spend part of their day working on a job site and get paid to learn about career opportunities.

Two local companies say they are happy to participate in the youth apprenticeship program.

Today, a group of students from Denmark High School toured a massive construction site to see how one of their classmates is spending part of his day.

"There's so many different trades that you can be involved in as far as HVAC work, plumbing, carpentry work, iron worker, we have all that stuff going on site right now so we're hoping that we can show you guys some different examples," explains a Boldt employee to students gathered before the tour.

Under construction is a $30 million, 65,000 square foot sausage-making plant for Salm Partners, based in Denmark.

The contractor, Boldt, says recruiting youth apprentices is about keeping an eye on the future.

"It's taking high school students and allowing them to balance their school workload and then have time to be working on site on a project, and in our case, on a construction project. It's really important that we recruit being that we're going to have multiple, multiple jobs available as our wonderful, experienced people retire," says Ginelle Hussin, Boldt Director of Talent Management.

And for Salm Partners, which will hire 80 full-time positions once this facility is up and running next spring, workforce development in the community is vital.

"Show our youth that we have career opportunities, not only in the trades, but also in manufacturing, we're a large food manufacturer, we have jobs that are both in quality control, we have jobs in maintenance, jobs in manufacturing, jobs in informational technology," says Dave Jones, Salm Partners Executive V.P. of Operations.

For students, it's a field trip in hard hats that could lead to a career.

In partnership with the State Department of Workforce Development, more than 75-percent of high schools in Wisconsin offer youth apprenticeship programs.