Innovation Award – People Winner

Insight Innovation Awards

2020 People Category Winner


Creating opportunities for youth

Youth Apprenticeship programs can be a win-win for the students and businesses involved.

For businesses, they can build a pipeline of workers by helping to train and hire engaged students who are taking related career pathway courses in their high schools, while students receive free job training, paid experience in a career field before graduation, and often earn industry certifications and credit at a postsecondary institution.

CESA 6, a nonprofit cooperative educational service agency based in Oshkosh, has found the right formula for successful Youth Apprenticeships. The organization has built Wisconsin’s largest high school Youth Apprenticeship program.

The program works with more than 50 school districts, 3,300 students and 550 employers in Northeast Wisconsin. CESA 6’s program serves 20 percent of the entire state enrollment in Youth Apprenticeships, and, upon completion, the agency sees a 95 percent job placement rate among its participants.

One of the Innovation Award judges remarked that CESA 6 played a vital role in helping train the future workforce. “What they are doing is essential for our businesses and our students. They are making a real difference,” the judge said.

Every year, CESA 6 Youth Apprenticeship student and employer participation has grown. Among the evidence:

  • The program saw a 1,200 percent increase in Youth Apprenticeship participation in the Mayville School District in less than a year of contracted support by the CESA 6 College and Career Readiness Center.
  • The program saw a 500 percent increase in Youth Apprenticeship enrollments in Neenah Joint School District in 2019.

935 seniors have graduated with an industry certification in schools supported by CESA 6, representing 23 percent of the total certifications earned statewide and generating $592,000 in funding for schools.

watch a video about CESA 6

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