The Department of Workforce Development has named David Polk to serve as director of the agency’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.
A former apprentices and plumbing instructor, Polk most recently served as director of apprenticeship and trade at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Polk’s 20 years of experience overseeing apprenticeship programs includes time in the public and private sectors and in academia. In previous roles, Polk has been responsible for developing apprenticeship programs that reach low-to-moderate income residents and Black and Indigenous workers and people of color.
As the director of apprenticeship and trade at MATC, Polk managed more than 30 different Milwaukee-area apprenticeships and adopted six new sector apprenticeships, including the first apprenticeship program for arborists in the U.S.
“We are excited for Polk to join our DWD team,” DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said in a statement. “With Polk as our apprenticeship leader, we’re looking forward to building more apprenticeship pathways that lead job seekers to family-sustaining careers and offer employers a skilled workforce. His vision and communication skills will also allow us to further bridge both Youth Apprenticeship and Certified Pre-apprenticeship programs with Registered Apprenticeship opportunities.”
Polk has first-hand knowledge of the opportunities that come from working as an apprentice. In 2001, Polk completed a five-year plumbing apprenticeship with Plumbers’ Local 75 and worked for several years as a licensed plumber. He later worked as a meter technician and plumbing inspector before concentrating on training.
“I am excited to transition to the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards,” Polk said in a statement. “In my previous role, I had the opportunity to develop creative employment options for Milwaukee’s populations via apprenticeships. I have a history of apprenticeship in my family and in my own career. That being said, I look forward to helping provide statewide economic mobility opportunities through apprenticeships in my new role.”