Students from five area high schools gain valuable workplace experiences even before graduation
The Ozaukee Youth Apprenticeship program has been going strong in Ozaukee County high schools for two decades, which organizers say is an indication of how intent local students are at leaving school job-ready.
A recognition ceremony and reception was held Wednesday, May 18, at the Cedarburg Cultural Center for the 30 area students enrolled in the program this year and their mentors.
The apprenticeship program is coordinated through a consortium of five local school districts with support from Ozaukee Economic Development and Wisconsin Workforce Development.
John Higgins of Port Washington High School is the consortium coordinator.
“Youth Apprenticeship integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries,” Higgins said.
“Ozaukee Youth Apprenticeship programs provide training based on statewide youth apprenticeship curriculum guidelines endorsed by business and industry. Students are instructed by qualified teachers and skilled worksite mentors.”
Each apprenticeship student is enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, attend career or technical education courses and work for a participating employer under the supervision of a trained mentor.
Other school coordinators include Cedarburg High School Dean of Students JoDean Hackl, Port High Assistant Principal Daniel Solorzano, Homestead High School business teacher Matt Wolf, Grafton High School Associate Principal Kevin Deering, Ozaukee High School business teacher John Odenwald and Random Lake High School Principal Adam Englebretson.
Higgins said exposure to job site experiences can prepare students for challenging situations that can arise in the working world.
“For finance youth apprentices, the interaction between customers at a bank, people of all ages, can build strong skills working with people and their related financial needs. They learn to problem-solve in real-life situations,” he said.
“Health youth apprentices work directly with the elderly and hospital patients, as well as with health-care professionals to provide direct care.”
Higgins said programs offer much more than people contact.
“Manufacturing youth apprentices work on machines and with tools that are cutting-edge in industry. A lot of schools just can’t afford to have the latest equipment,” he said.
“The best part — they all work with mentors who are current in their career field.”
Nine of the program graduates completed two-year apprenticeships, which require 900 hours of job site work.
n Kristy Buschman of Port Washington High School, who completed the finance program under the mentorship of Ann Noster of Port Washington State Bank.
n Brandon Heinen and Joseph Lewandowski, both of Port High, who completed the manufacturing program with teams of mentors including Jeff Decker, Brian Zylka and Don Haas at Oldenburg Metal Tech in Port Washington; and Grafton High School student Cameron Scheel, who completed his apprenticeship with mentors at Blanking Systems in Grafton and R&B Wagner Inc. in Milwaukee.
n Transportation, distribution and logistics apprenticeships were completed by Chad Dickmann of Grafton High, who worked with mentor George Heimsch at Krueger’s Auto Tech in Cedarburg; Spencer Banister of Cedarburg High, who worked with Rick Dickmann at 5 Corners in Cedarburg; and Michael Vojnovich of Random Lake High, who worked with mentor Craig Panzer at Schmit Bros. Ford in Saukville.
n Healthcare services apprenticeships were completed by Taylor Trottier of Ozaukee High, who worked with mentor Danielle Beining at Anita’s Gardens in Port Washington; and Lindsay Landers of Cedarburg High, mentored by Tanya Wolfgram at Ellen’s Home in Port Washington.
Twenty-one students completed one-year apprenticeships. Of that number, 14 youths from three different schools were in the healthcare services program.
n They included Port Washington High students Alyssa Brown, who worked with mentor Stephanie Elliott at Harbor Campus in Port Washington; Sarah Czarnecki, who worked with mentors John Brooks and Martha Pelzel at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton; Natalia Nutney, who worked with mentor Danielle Beining at Anita’s Garden; and Morgan Kropidlowski, who worked with mentor Ellen Adams at Heritage Nursing and Rehabilitation in Port Washington.
n Grafton High students Megan Klos, mentored by Cassie Leonhart at Today’s Dentistry in Cedarburg; Chloe Lichosik who worked with mentors John Brooks and Martha Pelzel at Aurora Medical Center; and Angela Marx, who worked with mentor Stephanie Elliott at Harbor Campus.
n Cedarburg High students Ellie Brittingham, who was mentored by Heather Wulff at Cedar Springs in Cedarburg; Allie Grossman, who worked with mentor Dave Rattay at Aurora Medical Center; Brielle Harvey, who was mentored by Dawn Nimtz at Cedar Springs; Emma Hinze, who served her apprenticeship at Cedar Springs; Sara Romneck, mentored by Cheryl Stephan at Newcastle Place in Mequon; and Erin Zietlow and Bridget Kudrownowicz, both of whom worked with mentor Dawn Nimtz at Lasata Care Center.
n Finance apprenticeships were completed by Haley Miller of Random Lake High School, who was mentored by Mark Schowalter of Port Washington State Bank, and Joshua Banister of Cedarburg High, who worked with Jodi Conrad of Partnership Bank in Cedarburg.
n Manufacturing apprenticeships were completed by Jared Fellion of Cedarburg High with mentors Fred Nicora and Craig Hull at Carlson Tool & Mfg. in Cedarburg, and Anne Marie Wittemann of Cedarburg High, who was mentored by Jennifer Wegner at Kapco in Grafton.
n Marcus Paulsen of Grafton High completed a transportation apprenticeship at Eddie’s Service in Saukville with mentor Paul Krauska.
n Jenna Bares of Random Lake High completed an art and communication apprenticeship with mentors Charles Pfrang of Total Care Group and J.P. Grimm of OfficeMax in Grafton.
Higgins said five new employers are interested in taking part in next year’s program.
Prospective employers can get more information about hosting an apprentice by calling Higgins at 268-6074 or visiting pwssd.k12.wi-us under the pull-down menu for “departments/programs.”
THE OZAUKEE YOUTH APPRENTICESHIP program marked another successful year with a graduation celebration and reception Wednesday, May 18, at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. The program provided career training for 30 students from five area high schools. Specialized training was provided in health care, finance, manufacturing, transportation and mass media. Businesses interested in providing mentors for next year’s program can get more information by contacting John Higgins at Port Washington High School, 268-6074. Photo by Sam Arendt