Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship Program at GFS

GFS headquarters sign

The Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship Program is a statewide school-to-work initiative providing high school students with hands-on learning in an occupational area, while participating in a related class. The program’s purpose is to prepare students to be successful members of the workforce through classroom and mentored on-the-job learning. Key components include exposure to multiple aspects of the industry, skill standards developed by the industry and paid on-the-job experience.

Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) understands the value in this initiative for students and has made it a priority to hire Youth Apprenticeship students from the Osseo-Fairchild community. This year, GFS has employed two students working towards obtaining their Youth Apprenticeship certification.

Tia is a senior at Osseo-Fairchild High School in the Youth Apprenticeship program. Working in the service and preventative maintenance department at GFS, Tia collects information sent by technicians about paint booths they have serviced into spreadsheets organized by state. She also takes information from the spreadsheets and uses it to make checklist decals for the paint booths being serviced.

When asked what her experience at GFS has taught her, Tia said, “I have learned how to follow and stick to a process, and how to review information effectively.” After graduation, Tia plans on attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, majoring in dairy science. Tia says her experience at GFS has broadened her horizons and showed her other possibilities for her future career.

Madeline is also a senior at Osseo-Fairchild High School, working in the marketing department. So far in her time at GFS, she has been shadowing the social media and website coordinator, working on the company newsletter and publishing social media posts each week.

Madeline says, “My experience with GFS has taught me how much behind-the-scenes work goes into a company’s social media platforms and other marketing initiatives. From getting photographs that pair accurately with literature, to ensuring all GFS deliverables adhere to the company’s branding guidelines, so many pieces are needed to formulate a final product that represents who the company is.”

Through watching the marketing team work together, she has learned the importance of a strong, collaborative team whose strengths complement each other. Madeline is still undecided as to where she plans to continue her education after high school, but she is planning to major in business administration with an emphasis in marketing.

GFS is happy to be able to partner with local schools to provide opportunities to students for on-the-job experience. Throughout the one- or two-year program, students will continue to build their skill sets. Once the program ends, students will receive a performance evaluation. Students who have met all requirements will obtain a skill certificate issued by the state of Wisconsin.

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