Thursday, April 30, 1998
Madison, Wis. -- A new information technology youth apprenticeship will be available to Wisconsin high school students starting this fall, a state agency announced today.
State Workforce Development Secretary Linda Stewart said the new program will emphasize teaching young people computer networking skills.
It was made possible in part through an agreement with a San Jose, Calif., manufacturer of computer network hardware and software. Cisco Systems, Inc., has developed a curriculum that can be taught to high school students, as well as through the Wisconsin Technical College system, Stewart said.
Gov. Tommy Thompson today announced an agreement by the state with Cisco to bring high-tech education and training across the state. The youth apprenticeship program is one part of that effort.
It will be the 16th youth apprenticeship program offered in Wisconsin.
"Through this new program, our youth apprentices will benefit from `hands on' instruction in the classroom and on the Internet," she said. "They'll also have industry professionals assigned as mentors at their worksites."
High school seniors who successfully complete the new program will receive a certificate in occupational proficiency from the state agency.
Students choosing to enroll in the program will be able to combine the high school instruction with an associate degree in informational technology at a Wisconsin Technical College and with a baccalaureate degree program in computer science from a University of Wisconsin System school.
Stewart said the youth apprentices will be taught how to design, build and maintain computer networks capable of supporting national and global organizations.
The curriculum has been written to national industry skill standards so that a youth apprentice with a state-issued certificate and the Cisco certification can work with any business computer networking system.
"This is the tip of the iceberg as far as this kind of strategic partnership goes between business, education and state government," Stewart said.
"According to the Information Technology Association of America, nearly 350,000 high-tech jobs in information technology (IT) are currently available in U.S. corporations.
"Many technology businesses can't fill their needs for qualified IT workers, so Cisco systems developed a four-semester curriculum that provides a work-based learning component."
Computer-systems-related fields are among the fastest-growing occupations in Wisconsin, said the agency's Vicki Poole.
Poole, the administrator of the Connecting Education and Work Division which coordinates Wisconsin's School-to-Work initiative, said her agency projects an employment growth in Wisconsin over the 10 years ending in 2005 of 135 per cent for computer engineers, 80 per cent for computer support specialists, and 102 per cent for systems analysts.
This parallels national trends, she said.
Poole said youth apprenticeship programs now are operated in 85 per cent of Wisconsin's school districts.
Other career fields with existing youth apprenticeship programs in Wisconsin include auto technician, biotechnology, drafting and design, business, finance, food services, health services, insurance, manufacturing, printing and graphic arts, and tourism.
Poole said young people and their parents interested in any of the youth apprenticeship programs should contact their high school youth apprenticeship coordinator.
For other information on the Information Technology/Networking Youth Apprenticeship Program, contact the state's Connecting Education and Work Division at 608/261-4588 or P. O. Box 7946, Madison WI 53707-7946.