By Tom Martin, CESA 3

Six Pointers and Mr. Matt Austin, MPHS Principal, joined peers, employers, and families at the 9th Annual Wisconsin State Youth Apprenticeship Day at the Capitol held Wednesday, March 13 in Madison.

Pointer Nation was afforded a spectacular panoramic view of Madison, which included both Lakes Monona and Mendota, in the top of the Park Hotel. 

“The setting was absolutely spectacular. It set the stage for Mineral Point to present ourselves as regional leaders in how Youth Apprenticeship has impacted us,” said Addie Ryser.

After a brief breakfast, Pointers and participants were greeted by Tom Martin, CESA 3 Career & Life Ready Coordinator, one of the organizers of the day and a mentor who joined the Mineral Point delegation. 

Martin then introduced Amy Pechacek, Wisconsin State Department of Workforce Development Secretary. Pechacek spoke highly of the success YA experienced this school year, in which Wisconsin’s program eclipsed 9,500 Youth Apprentices for the first time in its 33 year history. 

Pointers then joined the delegation for its annual Capitol Rotunda photo, a tradition that symbolizes the extent of the state’s program from Superior to Sturtevant and from La Crosse to Luxemburg.

From there, Pointers spent the morning speaking about their Youth Apprenticeship experience with not one, not two, but five regional legislators. 

When asked to recap on these visits, Roen Carey started by saying, “At first, I’ll admit that I was nervous. After the first visit though, everyone knew what we each wanted to say. What I appreciated is the amount of notes each office took about what we said.”

Pointers were afforded visits with State Representatives Tony Kurtz, Todd Novak, and Travis Tranel. Commented Elin Bowers, “What I really enjoyed was the attentiveness of each staffer. Despite the fact the legislative session is over until January, our input was documented and could be used for legislation for the next session.”

Byron Buroker did more reflection on the day, “I’ve been thinking a great deal of what I want to do after high school. While I thought Mr. Martin and others would be disappointed in me changing my mind, everyone has been totally supportive of my decision to pursue an electrical apprenticeship. Knowing this gave me confidence, not just today but in getting that set up.”

Pointers also visited regional Senators Howard Marklien and Brad Pfaff. 

MacClain Busser was equally impressed with the day, “I was honored that Mr. Austin and Mrs. Brunson chose me to represent our region. It doesn’t hurt when the organizer [Martin] is someone you’ve known for nearly two years and is so supportive of us. Each of the five visits were so impactful in that each staffer truly wanted to know what we gained from our YA.”

Finally Matthew Goninen summarized what YA Day meant for him, “Carrying the MP moniker for Pointer Nation is huge. While our legislators know where we are from, there were many that didn’t know that we have the most YAs in our region. They were also impressed with how we carried ourselves and articulated our career goals. Given that this week has a championship feel, I felt like we left the Capitol state champs for the work we’ve done for our futures.”

Mr. Matt Austin reflected on the YA Day, “As we did last year, we came back to YA Day because of not only its organization and attention to detail, but more importantly to tell the Mineral Point story, which is of excellence. I truly believe that our input will move Pointer Nation and Youth Apprenticeship forward.”