Youth Apprenticeship

Youth Apprenticeship (YA) is a highly successful talent acquisition strategy in which employers hire high school juniors or seniors for a one or two-year apprenticeship. During the apprenticeship, the student continues toward high school graduation and takes courses related to the profession as a way of enhancing what is being learned on the job.

YA integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries. Local 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. Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, in a youth apprenticeship related instruction class, and are employed by a participating employer under the supervision of a skilled mentor.

CESA 5 Youth Apprenticeship Video

2020 Youth Apprenticeship Magazine 

Program Framework

Key elements of the YA program are:

  • Industry-developed skill standards                                                                                          
  • Exposure to multiple aspects of the industry
  • Skilled mentors assigned to train the students
  • Paid on-the-job work experience

Related classroom instruction concurrent with work-based learning

  • Curriculum guidelines for all programs
  • Performance evaluation of demonstrated competencies
  • State-issued skill certificate

Timeline & Requirements

YA Level One (Year One) and Level Two (Year Two)

Level One:

  • Junior OR Senior year of High School
  • 450 hours of work-based learning MINIMUM
  • 2 semesters of related classroom instruction

Level Two:

  • Junior AND Senior year of High School
  • 900 hours of work-based learning MINIMUM
  • 4 semesters of related classroom instruction


  • Level One and Level Two apprenticeships may begin upon completion of a student's sophomore year if their age does not violate Employment of Minors legal restrictions for that occupation.
  • Level One apprenticeships may begin as late as January of the senior year, and Level Two apprenticeships may begin as late as January of their junior year.


  • By high school graduation
  • By AUGUST 31 following high school graduation
  • Extensions beyond August 31st may be granted - submit a request to DWD YA Program at:

To Apply

CESA 5 YA student application

If you have any questions about the YA program or applying, please contact the high school building YA coordinator, Connor Anderson.

608.592.3853 x4449

Cow Picture

YA-AFNR student with her "co-worker"


Last updated: 1/28/21