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CAZENOVIA – A Weston High School senior with dreams of working for a Major League Baseball team testified before a state assembly committee in hopes a bill providing additional support to the Youth Apprenticeship Program will pass.

Sadie Keller, 18, testified before the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Workforce Development during Youth Apprenticeship Day at the Capitol March 6, sharing her experience as a participant in the program.

While she said speaking in front of a big audience was “a little nerve wracking,” she shared her story to show her passion for the program. She said it was empowering to hear other stories from students and advisers participating in the program.

“It was a very cool day to be a part of,” Keller said.

Assembly Bill 57 increases the amount of funding for youth apprenticeship grants by $2.7 million for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The bill adds an additional $100,000 in the 2019-2021 budget for the development of youth apprenticeship curricula and increases the maximum amount of a youth apprenticeship grant from $900 to $1,000. The bill was introduced in the assembly March 4. More on the bill can be found at docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/related/proposals/ab57.

According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the youth apprenticeship program is a one to two-year elective program designed to provide high school students hands on learning experiences at an occupational work site and classroom instruction. Programs include occupations in agriculture, manufacturing, information technology and marketing. Options for programs vary depending on location.

Weston School District Youth Apprentice Coordinator and Business Education Teacher Lauretta Pickel said the school district partners with local businesses like Seats Inc. in Reedsburg for those interested in manufacturing.

“We are taking a potential part time job and morphing it into a learning experience, where we tie education and their work experience together,” Pickel said.

Keller said she’s always wanted to work in the sports industry and loved baseball since a young age. She played on the Weston High School softball team during her freshman year. She attended most of the baseball games to watch her brother, 2016 Weston High School graduate Dillion Keller, play as a starter for the Silver Eagles. Keller said for she kept stats for the Weston High School boys baseball team for the past three seasons.

Keller said the youth apprenticeship program provided her an opportunity to take marketing and businesses courses at Southwestern Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore and at the Madison College Reedsburg campus, in addition to fulfilling state requirements to graduate from Weston High School May 31. Keller became certified in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel with support from the youth apprenticeship program. She said the program provided her with a hand on experience, working with the Duluth Huskies in Minnesota and Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League, serving as a marketing and media relations intern.

She plans to attend the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management this fall, majoring in marketing with a minor in Spanish, and intern with Gopher Athletics. She hopes to work for the Milwaukee Brewers or Minnesota Twins baseball teams when she graduates college, she said.

Follow Erica Dynes on Twitter

@EDynes_CapNews or contact her at 608-393-5346.

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