A BANNER YEAR: Record number of apprentices enter the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program for fall

Electrical apprentices put their training to the test during ABC of Wisconsin’s Skill Competition at the Washington County Fair Park recently. There will be 540 new enrollees in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program this fall, a record number for the trade association. (Photo courtesy of ABC of Wisconsin)

The Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program is experiencing its highest level of enrollment in its 35-year history.

This fall, there will be 540 new enrollees in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program. ABC of Wisconsin, the largest ABC chapter in the nation, has 1,961 active apprentices as of August. The program has experienced dramatic increases in enrollment in each of the last several years. For comparison, the program had 650 total apprentices 15 years ago.

“We are at a point in time when more individuals are realizing the value of apprenticeship as an excellent higher education option,” said Leigh Emrick, ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship director.

“We’re happy to be able to offer the program to so many individuals and the sponsoring merit-based companies who want to develop craft skills.”

Apprenticeship is unique education because it combines paid on-the-job training with classroom instruction to provide the skills and knowledge needed to make a great living. With an apprenticeship, an individual starts a job and then develops skills over time to become a craft professional.

After apprenticeship candidates apply, qualify and have a company ready to sponsor them, they attend two online sessions before becoming an apprentice: the online orientation course from ABC of Wisconsin and the live orientation signing course with the state of Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.

That’s just the beginning.

The hands-on training occurs on the job, while the theory and practical knowledge to support the on-the-job training occurs in the classroom. ABC of Wisconsin apprenticeship managers help guide apprentices through their respective programs, which can last from three to five years, depending on the trade.

The ABC of Wisconsin apprenticeship program is the largest apprenticeship training provider in Wisconsin, offering 11 trades at 12 technical colleges. There are 542 companies with active apprentices in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program.

For more information about the ABC Apprenticeship, visit buildyourcareerwi.org.

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