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Wisconsin Education Center & Youth Apprenticeship Program

Student and Family

What is the current application process?

For a timeline of all our upcoming recruitment events, click here.

We accept applications from students on a rolling basis throughout the year with a final deadline for each term listed on our application page. Students interested in a fall start will need to be an incoming junior or senior to be eligible to apply. We also accept applications from juniors interested in applying for our spring (January) semester. All individuals who apply are guaranteed an interview and admittance decision mailed within two weeks of the interview. Accepted students will be given information on attending a required registration prior to starting in our classrooms.

What does the academic calendar look like?

You can view and download our academic calendar here or visit our Interested Students page to find the academic calendar and learn more about our program.

What is the student registration and enrollment cost?

We have a one-time program cost of $150. Most of your experience is covered by our partners (schools and local businesses), grants, and donors but you will be responsible for registration costs and student consumables, like uniforms, field trips, and work-related gear. Families are also responsible for all student transportation.

How long is the program?

There are three different options for students joining the program. Students who begin the fall of their junior year will attend consecutively for two years and end the program in June of their senior year. A second option is to join in January of the student’s junior year, to complete a one year and a half program. The last option is for students to join a one-year experience during the fall semester of their senior year.

Where do students attend class?

All of the education centers are located within the facilities of our business partners and operate according to their calendar. Students do not attend classes at their home high school; however, they can still participate in extracurricular activities at their home high schools. Learn more here.

What does a typical day look like in the program?

A student spends two to three hours in the classroom and five to six hours in the workplace. A sample new student schedule could look as follows:

7 A.M.–10 A.M. in the classroom
10 A.M.–11 A.M. Break time, 11 A.M.–3:30 P.M. at work (at a nearby partner facility)
3:30 P.M. dismissal

Can my child still be involved in high school activities?

When a student becomes a part of GPS Education Partners, they continue enrollment at their high school and have the privileges of any other student enrolled at that high school. We will work with the student and their employer in the program to do our best and accommodate for any school activities.

Will my child participate in graduation at their high school?

Yes, your student will be able to participate in their high school graduation upon completion of the program.

Do the instructors have specialized training?

GPS Ed employs state-certified instructors licensed in content areas. The instructors facilitate the learning of core academics and the use of subject matter in technical training.

Will my child receive a report card?

GPS Ed sends semester report cards to the parents and school districts. In addition, we provide a monthly update on the academic and workplace skills progress of the student. Upon completion of the program, a GPS Ed transcript will show earned credits of work they have completed.

What will GPS Ed students receive upon completing the program?

Upon completion, students will receive a high school diploma from their home high school along with a certificate of occupational proficiency in manufacturing from Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. In addition, the students will have the opportunity to become certified production technicians through the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council. The students will also have on-the-job training and work experience highlighted in a professional portfolio.

Do the students get time off?

Students will follow the calendar of the business at which they are employed and will have most major holidays off. GPS Ed creates a program calendar that will identify times that the education center is closed, but the students may still be required to work.

What type of work do students do?

Each student will participate in up to three job rotations. The first is an exposure rotation where students experience a variety of career paths within manufacturing. The second is an experience rotation with the opportunity to dive a little deeper into an area of interest or skillset. The final is a credentialed rotation in which students may have the opportunity to earn technical college credits and/or credentials.

Who supervises my child on the job?

Students are engaged in actual production jobs and are considered part of the work team. Each student will be working under the supervision of a trained mentor who is employed by the business partner. Teachers and program coordinators interact with mentors on a weekly (or more frequently, if needed) basis regarding student progress and performance.

How safe are the working conditions for my student?

Today’s manufacturing environments are very different from those of many years ago. In addition to being much cleaner and more high-tech, the working conditions are extremely safe as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The first testing module students are required to take in the industry certification series is focused on safety awareness.

Do students get paid while participating in the program?

Yes, students have the opportunity to earn up to $20,000 or more while in the program.

Does the school or GPS Ed provide transportation?

When placing students at a partner worksite we will do our best to take all matters into consideration. However, it is the responsibility of the student/parent(s)/family to provide transportation to the classroom and the workplace.

Can my child still go to a four-year college?

Yes! The curriculum provided to our students can prepare them for a four-year college. Our team of staff members also help students develop their applications if this is the route they choose after our program. Several GPSEd graduates have gone on to earn a degree at a four-year college.


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What does a company's involvement look like?

Linked here is the DWD Apprentice Overall process. Keep in mind GPS Ed provides, supports, and facilitates a number of these services.

Business Partner/Employer Responsibilities include:

  • Participate in mentor training sessions – GPS Ed provides training
  • Interview and hire Youth Apprenticeship (YA) student(s)
  • Provide on-the-job training to YA student(s)
  • Pay YA student(s) – GPS Ed provides a wage scale that begins at $12 and increases beyond as students progress and obtain certification levels
  • GPS Ed Daily Assessments of student(s) (web-based app 2-minute process)
  • Participate in regular formal Progress Reviews
  • Ensure 450 hours per year of work-site training/work hours – 900+ over a 2-year apprenticeship
  • Participate in annual GPS Ed events – Career Fair, Senior Luncheons, etc.

What is a typical GPS Ed student journey?

The student’s journey in our program can vary from 1 year, 1.5 year or 2 year (most are 2 year), so we structure our partner agreements over 2 years.  There are 2 agreements in place Community Impact Agreement* and Pathway Agreement*.

*To see these agreements in more detail click on “What is the financial commitment?” below.

What is the financial commitment?

As noted above, we structure our partnerships through two agreements: the Community Impact Agreement and the Pathway Agreement.

  1. Community Impact Agreement: is a tax-deductible contribution to your local Education Center and operations. This donation goes to the marketing of positions you have with high school students, student recruitment to multiple high schools, development of pathways, and partnership management. This donation is based on company size. Most businesses contribute about $3,500-$6,000 annually.
  2. Pathway Agreement: GPS Ed works with partners to identify and map out pathways within their organization classified as Exposure, Experience, or Credentialed Pathways.
    1. Exposure Pathway – The first 6 months of the apprenticeship, where the student is in a broad rotation to expose them to as many areas/departments within your organization as possible. There are no fees associated with Exposure Pathways.
    2. Experience or Credentialed Pathways – Seniors who have identified a target area (such as CNC/Welding, Maintenance) or opportunity to further their skills and/or education for a role in your organization.
    3. Pathway fees are only assessed for Experience and Credentialed Pathways if they are filled by an apprentice. The fees for Experience or Credentialed Pathways are $3,500.

What does a typical apprentice schedule look like?

Based on your level of engagement, your business can support a number of apprentices. GPSEd would map your organization and provide a recommendation.

Typically our apprentices work 5 days a week with our juniors working 4-5 hours a day (20-25 hrs./week) and our seniors working 5-6 hours a day (25-30 hrs./week). Within our academic year students have in class activities, GPSEd activities, tests, or outside activities planned where they are not working or have opportunities to work more. GPSEd provides a full academic year calendar and partner calendar as well. Student apprentice work schedules are provided to partners usually 2 weeks in advance.

If provided a good match, apprentices can remain with a business partner for their entire journey in our program or partial (5-6 months at minimum).  Students in our program can work year-round and can work up to 40 hrs. during a period of summer (June 15-August 10) if the partner has need for full-time hours and needs.

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