About Youth Apprenticeship
Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is a highly successful talent acquisition strategy in which employers hire high school juniors and seniors for a one or two-year apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship, the student progresses toward high school graduation while taking 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).
Key Attributes for Employers
Hiring: YA Coordinators help identify potential youth apprentices throughout the various high schools while conducting career coaching activities. In addition, YA Coordinators work with students to ensure employability skills are understood, resumes are created, and proper interviewing techniques are coached. However, employers determine who to hire and may opt to not hire any youth. Youth Apprentices are treated just like any other candidate pool.
Mentors: Before hiring a youth apprentice, employers are asked to identify an individual who will act as a mentor at the workplace for the apprentice and ensure all proper training and guidance is provided to the student learner. Performance evaluations will also be conducted quarterly with the apprentice.
Education/Training Agreement: An agreement form is signed by the apprentice, their parent, the employer, the school principal and the local YA Coordinator. This agreement enumerates the expectations and responsibilities of each party during the apprenticeship.
Skills Checklists: Each type of apprenticeship offers a list of skills that youth are expected to learn at the workplace. These are shared with employers prior to hiring the apprentice. Mentors will complete these checklists twice a year.
Hours: Ensure and provide a record of students’ 450 yearly hour requirement, with at least 250 of the hours taking place during the school year.
Youth apprentices are considered Student Learners, a classification which allows them to perform some work that otherwise would be off-limits to minors when certain conditions are met. This Student Learner Law allows businesses much more flexibility in hiring the youth.
Apprenticeships are paid positions by the employer, and require at least minimum wage be provided to the student.
Youth apprentices are covered by their employer’s workers compensation insurance policy which is required in the program. Please note, however, that workers compensation rates are not impacted by the age of employees but rather the industry in which the employer operates.
Since these youth apprentices are enrolled full time in an educational institution and receive school credit for their participation in the YA program, they are not eligible to file for unemployment insurance benefits from their YA employer.