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What is apprenticeship?

An essential, in-demand industry. 

What is Apprenticeship?

Registered apprenticeship has been a proven pathway to great jobs in Wisconsin since 1911. It combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction to provide the skills and knowledge you need to make a great living. With an apprenticeship, you start with a job and build a career.

Apprenticeship is a unique, post-secondary education and training program where you work full time for a company that trains you in the full scope of your trade. In addition, you attend classes (typically at a technical college) to learn the theory and practical knowledge to support your on-the- job training. The best part is you get paid both on the job and to attend classes, and your pay increases as you learn more skills.

At the end of your apprenticeship (which takes about 3-5 years depending on the trade), graduates do not have to look for a job, because they have already been working for a company that has invested in them since day one.  Apprentice graduates are just at the beginning of their rewarding career where many will eventually be future job site leaders and company owners. 

Apprenticeships are overseen by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) who create the apprenticeship contract that prescribes the well-rounded training required in apprenticeship.  When you are done, DWD issues a certificate of completion that is nationally recognized.

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Construction is one of the largest industries in the country and it can never be outsourced to other countries.


ABC of Wisconsin is a multi-trade association made up of more than 950 member companies who believe in rewarding their workers based on merit, talent, and performance. ABC members provide individuals with access to the trades without having to work through a union. ABC member companies are proud of their craft professionals who consistently excel in their trades. In fact, many apprentices are awarded at state and national competitions.

The ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program has been a registered apprenticeship program with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards since 1987. A national leader in apprenticeship training, ABC is currently training 2,000 individuals in 12 different apprenticeship trades at 11 different Wisconsin Technical Colleges.

If you want to start a well-paying, in-demand career with many opportunities to grow without taking on college debt, apprenticeship may be for you.


The apprenticeship program not only helped me in my trade, but in other areas like communication and teamwork! My instructor had a huge impact on my life and career.

- Jacob



Your Career
The word "Blueprint"

Most people don’t realize apprenticeship is a career area with lots of opportunities. Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential for you to progress quickly in your career. After putting your skills into practice, you could become a master craftsperson and/or land a leadership role at your company, such as foreman, crew leader, jobsite superintendent or project manager. Some apprentices start their own businesses or go back to school for a two-year construction management degree at a technical college and then apply that to a four-year building construction management degree at a university. How far you want to go is all up to you.