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Wisconsin students recognized in first-ever signing day for apprenticeships

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Stateline Manufacturing Alliance held its first-ever signing day Thursday to recognize southern Wisconsin students choosing a pathway in the trades.

Thirteen students from different area high schools were selected for apprenticeships in an “earn and learn” model, which allows them to work full-time learning a trade while also taking college classes that are paid for by their employer. Stateline Manufacturing Alliance explained that the goal of the event is to match students’ skills and career interests with local partners to meet the growing workforce need.

David Polk, Wisconsin’s new Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Director, spoke with attendees and thanked them for their commitment to manufacturing fields.

“As our students bridge today, what I want you to understand is that these are the first steps toward your future – a future of yours that is going to move much more swiftly than students of the same age who chose to do something different,” Polk said. “You are going to start taking the paths to your careers now and have much more options later.”

Each student, including Beloit Memorial High School Senior Merrill Reed II, was honored at the event and signed a certificate with their new employer.

“I know a lot of people, they’re into universities and that’s what they want to do and that’s fine you know, we’re still going to give them a round of applause,” Reed said. “But the stuff we’re doing is also useful because we’re going to be needed, because if something happens we’re the guys who get down there and do it, to help them out and give them a helping a hand.”

The event is sponsored by JP Cullen and Blackhawk Technical College.

Here is a full list of the students honored and their chosen employers:

Frito Lay

  • Zea Becker, Craig High School
  • Dayton Yuhas, Turner High School
  • Merrill Reed II, Beloit Memorial High School
  • Kory Hanson, Turner High School

Scot Forge

  • Michael Tearman, Milton High School
  • Evan Noble, Parkview High School
  • Cayden Wittrock, Elkhorn High School

Stoughton Trailers

  • Jordan Bittrick, Stoughton High School
  • Elliot Poole, Oregon High School


  • Brandon Samuel, Fort Atkinson High School

Jones Dairy Farm

  • Ashden Aarstad, Fort Atkinson High School


  • Theron Neisius, Clinton High School

Baker Manufacturing

  • Xander Knezovich, Evansville High School
Juliana Tornabene
May 19, 2022
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