PHILLIPS - At a Phillips dairy farm on Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker announced that the state will pour $3.2 million into supporting more than 3,600 Youth Apprenticeships across the state next school year.
Both numbers are Wisconsin records.
The Youth Apprentice (YA) program helps to kick-start the careers of people like Savannah Sutton, who now works at United Pride Dairy in Phillips after completing an apprenticeship there in high school.
"As a Youth Apprentice, I got to work in Maternity, so I got to learn how to birth calves, and take care of a newborn calf," Sutton explained.
As an apprentice, she also learned the administrative side of farming.
"With the YA program, maybe we introduce our farm, our dairy, to somebody that doesn't really know what it is," said United Pride Dairy farm partner Bill Harper.
Harper has helped coordinate the program for the dozen or so Youth Apprentices the farm has accepted from nearby high schools since the mid-2000s.
"I think Youth Apprenticeships are incredibly important, not just because they give our students a head start, but because they expose them to the incredible technology and innovation that we have on our farms all across the state of Wisconsin," Walker said.
Opportunities will expand for people like Sutton, offering chances for high schoolers to get experience in fields like farming, manufacturing, and health services.
"We need to make sure that, particularly for our young people, we embrace and support as many career paths as possible, and give many different options," Walker said.
Those options could grow Wisconsin's workforce and help people like Sutton work toward their dreams.
"Ideally, I would like my own farm, with 100 cows and a robotic milker," she said.