BMO Harris and Komatsu Fund Pilot Program for Youth Apprenticeships
Milwaukee, WI. Junior Achievement has developed the JA Technical Scholars program to increase awareness of Youth Apprenticeship programs. A new three-year pilot program, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and Komatsu, will offer 1,200 high school students in Southeast and Northwest Wisconsin the opportunity to enroll in Junior Achievement pre-apprenticeship education programs.
Youth Apprenticeship programs were developed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for high school juniors and seniors. The student employment opportunities provide in-class training and on-the-job learning for specialty careers. Students can move on to a Registered Apprenticeship upon graduation to continue their journey to receiving nationally recognized certification.
“With standards-based curricula and a network of classroom volunteers around the state, Junior Achievement has the unique infrastructure in place to help high school students be prepared for a more productive Youth Apprenticeship experience,” said Michael Frohna, President of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin. “We are grateful to BMO Harris and Komatsu for providing the funds that allow us to partner with schools on this innovative pilot program,” added Frohna.
In the Spring of 2022, the JA Technical Scholars pilot program will be delivered to freshman or sophomore students who are identified as Youth Apprenticeship candidates by their local schools in two Wisconsin areas – Metro Milwaukee and rural northwest Wisconsin counties between Eau Claire and La Crosse. Students will complete Junior Achievement lessons that focus on career exploration and essential job skills development. The pilot program was designed to become a pipeline into Youth Apprenticeships, with Junior Achievement volunteers providing greater depth of knowledge for students before they begin work at an apprenticeship. The volunteers who will teach the JA Technical Scholars lessons will come from the companies who are supplying the apprenticeships.
After a successful pilot program is achieved, the goal is to expand the program statewide, adding the development of a certificate of completion recognized by companies offering Youth Apprenticeships, a special “cord” recognition at high school graduation, and teacher/counselor onsite visits for firsthand exploration of technical jobs.
“At BMO, our commitment to supporting organizations that make a positive impact on the communities we serve is an essential part of our purpose to boldly grow the good in business and life,” said Kara Kaiser, Head, U.S. Corporate Real Estate. “That’s why we are proud to support the JA Technical Scholars program with its focus on preparing young people for their post-secondary path.”
Heavy equipment manufacturer Komatsu, whose new global headquarters for mining is under construction in The Harbor District, said it is proud to be part of this latest Junior Achievement initiative. “We believe it is important that we work together with our community to expand the talent pipeline in our area,” said Greg Elliott, Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP at Komatsu Mining. “The training Junior Achievement will offer these students is a new path to well-paying jobs and a future career.”
High school teachers or school district administrators who are interested in bringing JA Technical Scholars to their students can reach out to Brooke Tabbert at firstname.lastname@example.org (Southeast Wisconsin) or Susan Peterson at email@example.com (Northwest Wisconsin).