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What am I going to do and be when I “grow up”?  

When am I ever going to use this information?  

Is there another way to learn that is better for me?

Before finding their way to GPS Ed, these questions and so many more burned through the young minds of students in our Education Center and Youth Apprenticeship program as they were working their way through the traditional education system.  Our students regularly tell us that the younger versions of themselves wrestled with these questions.  After they join the GPS Ed family and as they move from student to alumni, they consistently report that the answers quickly come into focus. Through work based learning, these students found how to “Make School Work”.

Education in our country has largely been built to serve large numbers of students in as efficient a manner as possible.  Rows and desks, textbooks and lectures, tests and college prep, classrooms and school buildings.  It works well for some students, some of the time…… but certainly not for all students all of the time.  The diverse needs of current day learners and industry demand and require that our education systems and programming are equally as varied, unique, and creative.

Imagine if your junior and senior year in high school was spent not in a school at all.  Imagine if you spent your whole “school” day in a business – half day in class at a business (education center) and half day at work in a business (youth apprenticeship).  Imagine if you could earn while you learned.  Imagine if the answers to those 3 burning questions became more and more crystal clear to you with each passing day.

GPS Ed’s Education Center & Youth Apprenticeship cornerstone program has been operating for well over two decades and serves students in their high school junior and/or senior year throughout SE and NW Wisconsin.  With over 1200 graduates and counting, we are proud to help transform young lives and businesses with the next generation workforce through this innovative and high impact program.

I often talk about how this program is a bridge for our students from childhood to adulthood…..from school to work.  Please don’t just take it from me, rather hear directly from one our our recent graduates as shared in his senior class speech:

“One of the best things I have learned from this program is discipline. This program confronts you with your own maturity and forces you to grow up. It is an idea I have appreciated so much. Many kids are just dropped into adulthood. It can be a big change that can feel overwhelming but this program slowly builds to it so it is not as drastic of a change but a comfortable one. I’ve learned so much over the past year from how to interview like a pro, to how to operate and set up a 50 ton Friction welding machine. Truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing.”  – Joaquin, GPS Ed Class of 2023

GPS Ed’s Education Centers and Youth Apprenticeship program offer a revolutionary approach to learning, one that goes beyond the traditional classroom to prepare students for the future in a tangible, impactful way. As Joaquin, a proud graduate of the Class of 2023, eloquently put it, this program not only equips students with technical skills but also with the discipline and maturity needed for a seamless transition into adulthood. It’s this unique blend of hands-on experience, personal growth, and academic learning that sets GPS Ed apart. Here, students don’t just find answers to their burning questions; they discover a path that leads them confidently into their futures.

We invite you to explore how GPS Ed’s innovative approach to education can make a difference for students, businesses, and communities.

Learn more about our program and how we’re transforming the traditional learning experience into an opportunity for real-world success. Visit https://gpsed.org/education-center-youth-apprenticeship/ to start your journey with us. Discover how you, too, can “Make School Work” in the most practical, rewarding way possible.

Written By


Jeremy Joecks
Director of Partner Services
jjoecks@gpsed.org
GPS Education Partners

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