The Value of Apprenticeships

Preparing students for real-life work while they’re still in school can be tough, but apprenticeship programs have proven effective in helping to fill this gap. One such program is the Youth Apprenticeships program through Milwaukee Public Schools, which offers statewide school-to-work opportunities. In a recent information session for industry representatives, a panel of speakers shared their experiences with the program as well as information to help companies get started with apprenticeships.

One of the panelists was a student who had graduated from the apprenticeship program, and for him, like for many other students, his teachers were his main source of information about career-building programs like this one. This illustrates a fact we’ve heard time and time again — that creating relationships with educators is increasingly important for industry. Schools work to serve the local community, and having these relationships with educators ensures your company’s and industry’s needs can be met. Apprenticeship programs like this one help meet your current and future recruitment needs by allowing students to gain actual work experience and understand the different types of careers available at your company.

Have you ever thought about starting an apprenticeship? Here are a few basics that were shared from the panel:

  • Create a job description: This helps teachers and guidance counselors to direct students that are best suited for the opening.
  • Show students the money they can make: National salary averages and projections only go so far. Get students interested in the industry by showing them what they can earn.
  • Confirm ability to work the hours needed for the job: Having some flexibility is important when working with students, but being clear about time commitment makes the experience valuable for everyone.
  • Don’t underestimate the role of a mentor: The individual assigned to the apprentice will be the first impression of your company. The best mentors are genuine and engaging.
  • Make safety a priority: Define certain tasks that are safe but relevant.

Already offer student apprenticeships? Tell us your story!

If an apprenticeship doesn’t work for you, consider the possibilities of hands-on classroom projects, Q&A’s with students, or facility tours. These options create promotion and advocacy opportunities for your company and the industry. We can help connect members with schools in their local communities. Contact Stephanie Scaccianoce at or check out the Student Career Connections program to learn more.

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