Signing Day Brings Four New CG Schmidt Youth Apprentices

 In Awards, Press Releases

CG Schmidt welcomes its second cohort of youth apprentices as carpenters and project engineers. 

In the spring of 2022, Racine Case High School senior Jamarion Cooks signed a letter of intent to join CG Schmidt as the firm’s first-ever youth apprentice in carpentry. In an effort to build awareness for careers in the trades, expand opportunities for students to gain real-world training and  grow our own  youth apprentice program, CG Schmidt welcomes four additional incoming high school seniors as youth apprentices in carpentry and as project engineers from various high schools in the Milwaukee-metro area including Muskego High School, Bradley Technology and Trade School and Wauwatosa East High School.  

CG Schmidt’s youth apprentice program is championed by Field Personnel Coordinator Steve Flores. As Steve worked onsite at various high schools across Southeastern Wisconsin, students often expressed interest in his projects and excitement about careers in construction. Steve saw an opportunity to support young people in their career exploration through mentorship and hands-on experience with CG Schmidt.  

Each youth apprentice is a current high school student, often an incoming senior, who aligns with a firm to explore their chosen career path in the trades through Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development. Students receive hands-on training, classroom education, certification and a paycheck. Youth apprentices become ambassadors for the program, visiting schools within their district and encouraging peers to explore careers in the industry. Steve hopes the program continues to expand as school districts and neighboring communities see the value and choose to invest in technical education in the K-12 setting. 

Bradley Tech senior Juan Delgado (youth apprentice carpentry) will work with CG Schmidt on the ThriveOn King project located at 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
Muskego High School’s college and career experience coordinator, Jim Michlig, with seniors Veronica Soderberg (youth apprentice project engineer) and Josh Radovich (youth apprentice carpentry). Both students will work on active projects at Muskego High School.
Wauwatosa East High School senior Jacob Lassa (youth apprentice carpentry) with Field Personnel Coordinator Steve Flores. Jacob will work on a variety of projects at the neighboring Elmbrook School District.

On Track to Registered Apprenticeship (RA)  

The youth apprentice program additionally acts as a pathway to Registered Apprenticeship. Registered apprentices accept positions as graduating seniors, taking part in a four-year program during which they are paired with a first-year mentor, gain a variety of onsite project experience spanning scopes and trade types, and complete 20-weeks of schooling through their respective unions. Upon completion of the program, many RAs choose to continue working with CG Schmidt as a certified professional in their field. Since graduating from Horlick High School and swiftly completing his 450-hours of contracted youth apprentice time, Jamarion is now a full-time registered apprentice with CG Schmidt.  

They are pouring footing, they’re building walls, there are excavators out there … some people talk about the workforce crisis, and some people are finding solutions, and this is a solution.

Room for Growth  

While carpenters lead the way for youth apprentice opportunities throughout the state of Wisconsin, similar offerings for students pursuing careers as cement finishers, laborers or operators are more limited. District and community support is essential as demand for laborers across trade specialties rises, and those who currently invest in comprehensive educational and career programming realize positive results.  

“Career Signing Day is kind of recognizing our solution and the state’s solution towards the workforce crisis and the skills gap,” said Jim Michlig, a college career experience coordinator at Muskego High School. “You don’t have to go to a four-year school to get career advancement for your next step.” 

Ensuring students have information and access to career opportunities outside of the traditional four-year university track is a community-wide endeavor. By partnering with CG Schmidt, advocating for access and exposure, and investing in technical K-12 programming, we not only aid students in their pursuit of trade education, but we also support our future workforce and vitality of the industry. 

“They are pouring footing, they’re building walls, there are excavators out there,” said Michlig. “Some people talk about the workforce crisis, and some people are finding solutions, and this is a solution.” 

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