Students involved in the Youth Apprenticeship program at Bell Tower Residence are, seated from left, Erin Hoy and Morgan Wilde; standing from left, Carlie Asinas, Mikala Geurink, McKayla Pankow, Alissa Zajackowski, Alysian Woellner-Hoffman and Bobbi Wimmer.
Students involved in the Youth Apprenticeship program at Bell Tower Residence are, seated from left, Erin Hoy and Morgan Wilde; standing from left, Carlie Asinas, Mikala Geurink, McKayla Pankow, Alissa Zajackowski, Alysian Woellner-Hoffman and Bobbi Wimmer.
By Donna Schulz, Regional Coordinator for the Youth Apprenticeship Program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.
Employers who participate in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program are helping develop our future workforce. YA is a work-based learning program that allows high school juniors and seniors to work part-time in a career field they are considering for their future, while taking courses that support that career direction. Students learn from experts in the field and gain skills necessary for success in the world of work. 
The Youth Apprenticeship program wouldn’t exist without the support and dedication of employers in communities across the state. One of the employers in Merrill who supports YA and helps students focus on their futures is Bell Tower Residence.
“It is our pleasure at Bell Tower Residence to work in partnership with the Merrill Senior High School’s Apprenticeship Program,” said S. Mary Anne Rose, Director of Resident Services. “Mentoring the youth has been a win-win process for Bell Tower Residence and our residents for many years. Many students are interested in pursuing some type of career in healthcare. Getting experience working at an assisted living community helps the students make some important decisions regarding their future. 
The program helps youth develop people skills, responsibility, and dependability. Witnessing the students become members of the Bell Tower team is very rewarding. Our residents enjoy meeting the students and often get to know them very well.
It has been a learning experience for the youth in the program as well as for the Bell Tower employees who mentor and minister with them. These students are our future caregivers.  It is a privilege to observe the growth in the students as they participate in the program.  Thank you for including Bell Tower Residence in this program.”
YA provides students with experiences that will benefit them throughout their lives, but YA also benefits every business involved with the program. Employers get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry, and they have the opportunity to shape their future workforce. 
Other employers in Merrill who participate in YA include Agra Industries, AmericInn Lodge & Suites, Breaman Merrill Ford, Brickner Park City, Burnett Farm, Champ's Restaurant, Culver's, Duley Farms, Fox Farm, Good Samaritan Health Center, Grampa's Farm, Hackbarth Grain Farm, K B Ranch, KFC/Taco Bell LLC, Kindhearted Home Care LLC, Lemmer Farms, McDonald's, Merrill Tool & Water Jet, Natzke Farms, Park City Credit Union, Pat's Auto, Pinecrest Nursing Home, Pizza Hut, Sczygelski Farm, Subway, Turenne Construction, Weisenfeld Farms, Wes Fab and Woodland Court.
The YA program covers a variety of areas from agriculture to welding. Employers interested in connecting with a student looking for an apprenticeship or learning more about the YA program should contact Marla Konkol at Merrill High School or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College.