Participation in Wisconsin’s Registered Apprenticeship program at highest in more than 20 years, state says

DEFOREST, Wis. — Wisconsin is seeing the highest participation rate in its Registered Apprenticeship program in two decades, with more than 15,000 people taking part, the state’s Department of Workforce Development and Gov. Tony Evers said Thursday.

The program combines classroom and on-the-job learning for people in industries ranging from construction to healthcare and information technology. In a news release, DWD said it has not seen the same level of participation in the program since 2001.

During a visit to the LiUNA Training Center in DeForest Thursday afternoon, Evers touted the program’s efforts in reducing unemployment while bolstering the state’s infrastructure.

“Together, our proven, industry-driven training model provides a flexible pipeline of talent that can adapt and respond to the changing workforce needs, and these programs are a key part to ensure we are building a highly-skilled, expertly trained, as happens right here, workforce of tomorrow,” Evers said.

Apprenticeship means much more than a career to Amber Riskey, who said it “literally saved (her) life,” giving her a way to move forward and provide for her son after leaving an abusive relationship.

“… My apprenticeship training here at the training center has given me lifelong skills that can’t be taken away from me,” she said.

The program, she added, is also helping her pave the way for other women to succeed in the trades.