Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman recently said that Gov. Doyle's plan to expand Wisconsin's model apprenticeship program is vital to ensuring utilities a skilled workforce, to growing the economy, and to building the state's energy independence.
"Wisconsin's apprenticeship program was the first in the nation, and we can remain a leader by expanding it to include more training opportunities for critical utility jobs that will help us gain our energy independence," Secretary Gassman said.
During a visit to Chippewa Valley Technical College, Eau Claire, WI, she met with 28 apprentices from municipal and rural utilities throughout the state in their third year of training to become electrical line workers.
With another year of training, they can become journey line workers, a job that pays an average of more than $18 an hour to start, more than $29 an hour with experience, and provides opportunities for advancement.
Secretary Gassman said that nearly one-third of utility workers in the state are age 50 or older. The DWD estimates that about 100 openings are available each year for electrical power line installers and repairers, and that 80 of those come from replacing workers, primarily due to retirement.