Work Force Training Important

By: Karen Kostko
By: Karen Kostko

President Bush plans to announce at least $120 million in grants administered by the Labor Department. The president's goal is to enhance work force training programs.

In Marathon County, there are close to 200 students involved in local youth apprenticeship programs. The county has the most support from businesses in the state. Currently, there are 87 businesses that offer apprenticeship programs. Olson Tires in Wausau is one of those businesses. They've worked with students for nine years.

"Right now we are facing a shortage in our industry and as many industries are, and what we're trying to do is a combined effort to develop better program outcomes," says Kent Olson, owner of Olson Tires.

That's exactly part of the president's plan, to better the outcome of the economy. Many states, including Wisconsin, continue to face erosion in many industries, but the programs are working. Area students say they feel prepared after taking part in the one or two year apprenticeships.

"It basically gives you a feel for your career if you like, stick with it, if not, then you always have a chance to move on and try something else," says student Jeff Zernicke, who participated in the Olson Tire apprenticeship.

If you would like more information on how to get involved, contact Lisa Peterson at the Wausau/Marathon County Chamber of Commerce at 715-845-1051.