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|Population Reach:||10-19% of WI's population|
|Impact on Disparities:|
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Youth apprenticeship programs provide high school students with professional opportunities that combine academic and on-the-job training and mentorship. Apprenticeships include classroom-based vocational education in a high school or technical college setting that is related to paid on-the-job work and connects participants to instructors who also act as mentors. Youth apprenticeships are offered in a variety of fields. Training requirements and applicable government or industry-recognized standards vary by field (Bulanda 2015, Abell-Lerman 2015). Most formalized apprenticeships in the United States serve adults who have graduated from high school, often through Registered Apprenticeship programs (Eichorst 2015).
Youth apprenticeship programs are a suggested strategy to increase employment and gain employment skills (Hamilton-Lerman 2014, PIIE-Aivazova 2013, OECD-Sonnet 2010), particularly for disconnected youth (Upjohn-Hollenbeck 2008). Assessments of apprenticeship-like programs for high risk juvenile offenders suggest increases in youth employment and GED attendance (Schaeffer 2014). After school apprenticeship-like programs that introduce disadvantaged high school students to trades or other careers may improve social and emotional development (Halpern 2006), and promote alternatives to violence and paths out of poverty (Bulanda 2015). Countries with strong apprenticeship programs have lower youth unemployment rates than countries without strong programs (OECD-Sonnet 2010), and participation in Registered Apprenticeships appears to lead to increases in lifetime earnings (Mathematica-Reed 2012, Upjohn-Hollenbeck 2008). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects of youth apprenticeship programs.
A few states have formalized youth apprenticeship programs; Georgia and Wisconsin, for example, have had programs in place for 16- to 19-year-olds (Urban-Karas 2016) since the mid-1990s (Abell-Lerman 2015). As of a 2013 report, only 0.3% of the United States workforce participated in adult or youth apprenticeship programs (IZA-Lerman 2013).
Wisconsin’s youth apprenticeship program serves approximately 3,000 high school juniors and seniors in one and two year programs. Programs require 450 to 900 hours of work-based learning and two to four occupational courses. Program completers receive a certificate of occupational proficiency in the relevant field, and sometimes technical college academic credit. Programs include agriculture and natural resources, architecture and construction, finance, health sciences, hospitality, information technology, biotechnology, engineering, transportation, and manufacturing (Urban-Karas 2016). State government spending is estimated at $2 million (Hamilton-Lerman 2014).
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