November 23, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Ryan Geiger remembers going into the guidance counselor’s office during his senior year at Brillion High School where he saw something about an apprenticeship. Now seven years later, he’s one of the success stories of apprenticeship programs.
“Nobody ever talked about it, but it always seemed like it was a good gig,” Geiger says. “It’s a good deal. There’s nothing wrong with getting on-the-job training and going to school and getting paid to go to school.”
He graduated high school in 2011 with credits already in the bag that he took with him to Fox Valley Technical College. He landed an apprenticeship with Ariens Company that fall and is now a journeyman tool and die maker with the company. Those who successfully complete an official program are considered journeymen.
People are now talking about it, too. Geiger was part of a special presentation at an Ariens apprenticeship event last week, held in conjunction with FVTC during National Apprenticeship Week. Students from Brillion, Hilbert and Reedsville were in attendance for presentations and tours. Ariens works with multiple school districts in the area for the program. Tania Kilpatrick, a program coordinator, works with 50 school districts of all sizes in the region.
High school juniors and seniors are eligible to receive a paid job while earning high school credit through the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship. The program fits the recent and ongoing message from government and business leaders that students should consider two-year schools instead of four-year universities.
Geiger said he conveyed the idea to students that there is nothing wrong with going into the workforce immediately, if that’s what they want to do.
“Get in there and show your employer that you want to learn and that you have the drive and initiative to get better,” he said. “Then they can invest in you and they might take part in paying for part of your school.”
Please see the complete story in the November 23, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.