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Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship: A Strategy for Meeting Your Future Workforce Needs

If your business is seeking an effective strategy for attracting and retaining workforce talent, consider partnering with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program. The YA program is a valuable entry-level employment experience that can bring new committed talent to your business.

YA is a proven approach your company can use to find the next generation of workers and get support for your role in employing, training, and retaining them. Thanks to your insurance industry peers and fellow Professional Insurance Agent (PIA) members, Wisconsin has a YA Insurance pathway available for you to mentor, train, and grow your own workforce.

YA program benefits cited by employers:

  • Access to youth who are eager to learn and have interest in the industry and profession.
  • Quality, pre-screened youth who receive ongoing support throughout their apprenticeship.
  • Workforce planning approach to address future hiring needs in a timely and cost-effective way.
  • Opportunity to impact the workforce habits of youth and develop their work skills.

What is the Youth Apprenticeship Program?

Youth Apprenticeship is a successful talent acquisition program that provides employers with opportunities to hire high school juniors and seniors in nearly 80 career area pathways, including insurance.

For every year of participation, a YA student must gain a minimum of 450 hours of work experience in combination with earning at least one high school or three college credits of related instruction. Once an employer and student agree to work together, they sign an YA Education/Training Agreement (ETA), along with the student's parent or guardian, school representative, and YA coordinator. This formal agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of all involved parties.

Youth Apprenticeship encompasses these key program elements:

  • Industry-developed skill standards.
  • Skilled mentors assigned to train the students.
  • Related classroom instruction provided concurrently with the student's YA work-based learning experience.
  • Local program operation within uniform statewide parameters.
  • Performance evaluation of required skills.
  • State-issued Certifications of Occupational Proficiency (or YA certificates) awarded upon successful completion of the program.

“Our agency has had a Youth Apprentice for five years now. Each year, the students have brought their unique skill sets and experiences to bear on marketing and customer service activities. In return, they have been given a welcoming and challenging environment that provides them a valuable professional foundation," - Josh Erickson, American Family Agency owner in Madison. 

What Youth Apprenticeships are Available in Wisconsin?

YA has 13 career area programs with 79 individual pathways. Finance is one of the programs with three pathway offerings, including insurance.
Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program & Pathway Offerings
Agriculture, Food & Natural ResourcesArchitecture & Construction
Art, Audio Visual Technology and CommunicationsBusiness Administration
Health ScienceHospitality and Tourism
Information Technology (IT)Manufacturing
MarketingScience, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Find the complete list of YA occupational programs and pathways on DWD's YA website.
The YA Insurance pathway is offered as a one-year option that requires youth apprentices to complete a total of 10 industry identified competencies. Employers can substitute one competency with another occupationally appropriate skill, if necessary.
In addition to occupations within your specific industry, are there other areas where your company needs to recruit and retain staff? You may consider youth apprentices interested in other pathways, including:
• Administrative Professional
• Human Resource Professional
• IT Essentials
• IT Network Systems and Security
• IT Software Application and Development
• Marketing Communications
• Merchandising
• Professional Sales
Visit the Youth Apprenticeship ( website to get started. Email any questions to our DWD YA staff at
Employers can also contact their YA regional consortium to learn more about local opportunities in their area. Scan the QR code below to view the full list of Wisconsin Apprenticeship contacts.


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