Manufacturing is the engine that drives American prosperity. Often the perception is that the heyday of U.S. manufacturing is in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth! Wisconsin is tied as the number one manufacturer in the United States and employs 16% of our labor force.

Manufacturing establishments engage in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.


Furthermore, all manufacturing workers need to possess flexibility of skills in order to respond to rapidly changing industry demands. Therefore, the Manufacturing YA program was structured to require industry-wide foundational skills and industry-specific technical skills.


“The Youth Apprenticeship Program has given me two years of job experience and could end in a a job and career. My two years of job experience took place at a top-notch facility that offers the best of the best. I’ve worked with great people at EK Machine; because there are only 160 employees at the current time, it’s like one big family. Joining the program was the right choice for me and it’s going to help my future.”

- Keith Johnson, Class of 2016, Sun Prairie

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Frequently asked questions


This Youth Apprenticeship occupational area focuses on Manufacturing pathway. YA students acquiring basic skills pertinent to understanding and working in careers to plan, manage, and perform processing of materials into products. The Production units (Assembly and Packaging, Manufacturing Processes, Machining, Welding) allow students to work with a variety of equipment and processes to transform materials into parts or products. The Production Operations Management unit gives students a chance to plan and manage processes that monitor and ensure that materials and products are produced according to specification in an efficient manner. The Maintenance, Installation, and Repair units (Basic and Advanced Industrial Equipment) allow students to monitor, troubleshoot, and repair the equipment necessary for production operations.

Career Opportunities

The Manufacturing Career Cluster is the engine that drives American prosperity. Virtually any product that makes your life easier, better, safer and longer came from an advanced manufacturing process. Manufacturing is one of the larges employment sectors in Wisconsin and requires a high number of technically skilled employees to further drive innovation within our state. This career cluster prepares students for careers in manufacturing that involve planning, managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products. Students will also be exposed to related professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance and manufacturing/process engineering. Students in manufacturing learn and practice skills that prepare them for diverse post-secondary opportunities. These opportunities could include two or four-year college programs, apprenticeships or employment. The Youth Apprenticeship Program in collaboration with Career and Technical Education courses will introduce you to a variety of interesting careers. Career Opportunities:

  • Engineering Technician
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Production Worker
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • CNC Programmer
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Quality Process Engineer
  • Industrial Mechanic
  • Process Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Assembler
  • Fabricator
  • Welder

Entrance Criteria

  • Entering junior or senior status
  • Display a genuine interest in the Engineering and Technology Pathway
  • Have previously enrolled in introductory pathway specific courses
  • Register for concurrent related courses
  • Submit a completed application along with references
  • Interview effectively and get hired
  • Maintain a high level of attendance
  • Secure transportation to the job
  • On track for high school graduation


Students participating in the Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship program will take courses offered through their high school or through the Madison Area Technical College. Courses could possibly include machine tool, welding, and metals. Safety instruction is a requirement of this program. For more information regarding courses student should contact their School to Career Coordinator.

Business Partners that support Youth Apprenticeship: