Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

DWD logo

Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 14, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Secretary Newson Congratulates Mercury Marine on 75th Anniversary Year, Highlights Strong Partnership with DWD in Apprenticeship Training

During visit, Secretary cites increasing apprentice numbers at Mercury Marine, also statewide; Proven, on-the-job training that complements Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative

FOND DU LAC – During a visit to Mercury Marine today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson congratulated the Wisconsin-based global manufacturer celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year and saluted the employer for being a strong and valuable workforce partner in apprenticeship training.

"Founded in Cedarburg, Mercury Marine's a great Wisconsin story, and this global manufacturer now based in Fond du Lac is a good example of why the world looks to us for quality goods and services," Secretary Newson said. "It takes dedicated and talented men and women with the right skills to achieve this level of success, and we are proud to have Mercury Marine as such a strong, longstanding partner in apprenticeship training. We are building a skilled workforce to move Wisconsin forward through proven programs like apprenticeship as well as new initiatives, such as the Governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program."

On behalf of Governor Walker, Secretary Newson presented Mercury Marine's new president, John C. Pfeifer, with a plaque officially proclaiming July 14, 2014, Mercury Marine Day in celebration of its anniversary and partnership in apprenticeship training. Over the last two years, Mercury Marine has more than doubled the number of its apprentices.

"We are proud of our apprenticeship program here at Mercury Marine and its growth over the past few years," said Mercury Marine President John Pfeifer. "It was an honor to be recognized by Governor Walker and the State of Wisconsin today and we will continue to expand our program to provide education and career guidance as we continue to grow our program into the future."

According to the DWD Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, Mercury Marine has increased its apprentices in training from 12 active apprentices in 2012 to 22 a year ago and to 27 this year, providing workers on-the-job training for careers as electricians, maintenance mechanics, tool makers and display carpenters.

Mercury Marine's numbers are indicative of a statewide trend in the Registered Apprenticeship program, as the numbers overall have increased. Due to an improving economy and a promotional effort about the program, DWD succeeded last year in reversing a decline in participation for many years. So far this year, the number of new apprentice contracts total nearly 1,400, slightly above last year's pace and nearly double the number at this time five years ago.

Secretary Newson cited Governor Walker's investments in workforce development, approximately $135 million over two years, and noted increased funding for apprenticeship training and reimbursement for 25 percent of the training costs, up to $1,000 per apprentice.

For more about the apprenticeship program, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/apprenticeship/.

For information on Wisconsin Fast Forward, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/.