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Letter from Rep. Petryk: Youth Apprenticeship Grants

Youth Apprenticeship Grants

Recently, Governor Walker announced that $1.86 million would be provided for Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program grants. These grant funds are used to train high school juniors and seniors during the upcoming school year for in-demand careers. This program is nationally recognized and has helped approximately 1,900 students last year. 

The Youth Apprenticeship Grants are managed by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Partnering with DWD are local service providers, school districts, and employers. This program began in 1991 and there are currently 40 various occupations in which potential participants can choose from. Youth apprentices complete on-the-job training with the employer while receiving technical college-level instruction at their local high school. Those who complete the program may also receive college credit for their work amongst other rewards for completing this important program. 

Last year, DWD awarded $1.6 million in grants to train students in over 200 school districts. Of the 1,900 students that participated, 75 percent of those students went on to receive job offers by the employer that provided their training. For more information on the Youth Apprenticeship program and how to get your child involved, please visit the DWD website at

As our state continuously works to create a climate that promotes job growth, programs such as Youth Apprenticeship help equip our state’s future employees with the necessary skills to obtain and keep good paying jobs. It is encouraging to see the Governor investing further in the future of Wisconsin’s workforce. Our state’s commitment to the future of our youth and workforce doesn’t stop at Youth Apprenticeship Grants. Our state’s new biennial budget also includes expanded funding for Wisconsin’s technical colleges and funds for academic and career planning in K-12 schools.

Wisconsin Air National Guard 115th Fighter Wing

Recently, several of my colleagues and I had the honor and privilege of touring the 115th Fighter Wing and meeting members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard in Madison. As part of our tour, we received a mission briefing and learned the critical importance of the 115th Fighter Wing for security and protection for the state of Wisconsin and the entire Midwest. 

The 115th Fighter Wing has selflessly served our country multiple times over the past decade. They began supporting the Global War on Terrorism on September 11th, 2001, which was the first time since 1974 that the 115th was authorized for a 24/7 alert mission. Four jets, pilots, and crew chiefs are ready to go at a moment’s notice to provide air support. These jets are fully armed and prepared to either defend our skies from a potential terrorist attack or to assist in an emergency. 

This Fighter Wing has been given the task of providing homeland security under the operational command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD. When necessary, the 115th can respond to an emergency and provide air support for Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. 

At the conclusion of the mission briefing, I and twelve other legislators and/or staff were provided with a tour of the fire department, alert facilities, and the operations and maintenance hangers. While touring the fire department, we learned how they serve not only the Air National Guard base but also the entire Dane County Regional Airport. Their tanker truck is available to the entire county when needed. 

This tour was truly a wonderful experience and my sincere thanks go out to the members of the Air National Guard who hosted our group and spoke with us. This discussion and tour further deepened my utmost respect for the members of all Wisconsin National Guard units who keep our state and nation safe!

A Family of Command Sergeants Major

Bill Yingst is a good friend of mine, a community leader in Pepin County, and a member of the 93rd Assembly District. After conversations with Bill and his family, I thought that their story was one definitely worth sharing with all of you.

Few Soldiers ever attain the rank of Command Sergeant Major, much less three members of one family. Only 0.8 percent of all Soldiers who raise their hand on enlistment day will ever reach the rank of Command Sergeant Major. 

Tell that to the Yingst’s. The family from Wisconsin calls three Command Sergeants Major its own: retired Command Sgt. Major William Yingst Sr. and his two sons, retired Command Sgt. Major William Yingst Jr. and Command Sergeant Major Paul Yingst, still on active duty. Bill Sr. spent 35 years in the Army Reserve with many assignments throughout the state of Wisconsin and after 30 years, is presently retired from Bauer Built, Inc. where he was Vice President of Human Resources. Bill Jr. spent 21 years in the Army Reserve. During this time he served a 13 month combat tour of duty in Afghanistan as the Battalion Command Sergeant Major of the 367th Engineer Battalion where he was awarded the Bronze Star. Bill Jr. is presently Superintendent of schools in Colfax, WI. Paul Yingst has 23 years of service and counting between the Army Reserve and active duty in the Active Guard Reserve (AGR) with two combat tours of duty and was also awarded the Bronze Star.

Paul feels very good about carrying on the family tradition and being selected at a very young age. He always felt that he had to have his own identity and not just be one of the Command Sergeants Major Yingsts’ son or brother, but to do his own thing, prove his worth and create his own path. Like the NCO creed says, NCO’s are the backbone of the Army and his brother agreed. Bill Jr. explained that he turned down Officer Candidate School to remain an NCO. Officers plan and NCO’s execute. All the training we do in the Army is for one purpose and that is to go to war. Bill Sr. said of his son’s ranks, “It’s about the last thing I would have ever expected.”

He did expect that the way his sons grew up, they would join the military. He also said, ”I’ve always heard that less than one percent of all Soldier’s ever make Command Sergeant Major and that being the case, the odds are really stacked against us.” Bill Jr. said, “I have every faith in the world that when U.S. Army Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors go to war, we are the best trained Military in the world.”

Article, courtesy of Soldiers magazine June 2009.

Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery Grand Opening

The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamer held its open house Friday and Saturday (August 2-3rd) serving their delicious cheese curds and showcasing their new offices and sales room where you can buy their products, Flat Pennies ice cream, and other wonderful items.

Thursday, I was privileged to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony which kicks-off the grand opening celebration of the improvements to the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery. They have expanded and remodeled their milk intake area and their office complex. About 300 people attended with many civic leaders from around the Pierce County area. Congratulations to the administration, staff, and especially the patrons and cooperative members who will reap the benefits of these improvements for decades to come. 


Upcoming Events in the 93rd Assembly District

Town Festivals

Eau Claire Pioneer Days August 9-11th

Downsville Day August 24th

Eau Claire Festival in the Pines August 24-25th

Prescott Daze September 6-8th

Pepin Laura Ingalls Wilder Days September 14-15th

County Fairs

Pierce  August 8-11th Fair Grounds, Ellsworth

Other Events

Durand Rod and Gun Club Chicken Dinners August 8, 22

September 5, 19

October 3, 17

November 7

Reservations required:

Greater Insurance Service of Durand (715) 672-5921 Mondovi Insurance-Mondovi (715)926-3341