Started in 2000, the Pewaukee-based Second Chance Partners for Education partners students who are at risk of dropping out of high school with employers who are willing to help them finish school and give them on-the-job training in manufacturing.
Students, or youth apprentices, study all the core classes, including math, science and social studies, as well as financial literacy, critical thinking, ethics, lifetime fitness and personal and social responsibility. They also take courses in blueprint reading, computer aided design and high performance manufacturing.
When they're done with the 21-month program, students earn a diploma from their school district, a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and have advanced standing with Wisconsin Technical College System, in case they decide to continue their educations.
Right now, in this region there are 12 education centers: Plexus in Appleton; Lavelle Industries in Burlington; JW Speaker in Germantown; Lindquist Machining in Green Bay; Tailored Label Products in Menomonee Falls; Industrial Towel and Uniform in New Berlin; Create-A-Pack in Oconomowoc; National Technologies in South Milwaukee; Generac Power Systems Inc. and SPX Transformer Solutions, Inc., both in Waukesha; Regal Ware in West Bend; and Lakeside Manufacturing in West Milwaukee.
Nearly 90 percent, or 168 students, have graduated through the program since it began 12 years ago, and more than 50 percent of students continue with a partnered business, according to Second Chance officials.
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