ABC VP Talks Workforce Development on Rural Wisconsin Initiative Podcast

Kelly Tourdot

ABC of Wisconsin Vice President Kelly Tourdot was featured on the inaugural edition of “RuralCast” – a podcast created by the Rural Wisconsin Initiative – to discuss apprenticeships and workforce development opportunities in rural areas of the state.

Tourdot was joined on the podcast by host Steve Schwerbel, a staffer for Rep. Romaine Quinn (R-Barron), who was a founding member of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative. The Rural Wisconsin Initiative was created in 2016 by rural legislators to explore bipartisan policy solutions related to the challenges rural areas face in education, health care, workforce development and technology.

During the show, Tourdot and Schwerbel talked about the dignity of work, how apprenticeship opens the door to new entrepreneurial opportunities in small towns across Wisconsin, and how youth apprenticeship is creating new career paths for high school students.

“One of the things that we’re trying to do is get them (high school students) sooner,” Tourdot said. “Get to them and give them an opportunity for a good paying life and career that you can have pride and value in (beginning) at the high school level … If you’ve been with a plumber or an electrician or a carpenter and you’re driving around, he’ll tell you or she’ll tell you every place they’ve touched, every brick they’ve laid. That’s their legacy.”

Tourdot also talked about ABC’s new carpentry apprenticeship section based out of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake, which is bringing much-needed workforce training to the northern part of the state.

“It’s a perfect example of a private-public partnership,” Tourdot said. “You have those private businesses that need to train the next generation, you have the public institution of the technical college coming in and it’s really marrying those two. We get an expert that trains in the technical college … and in three years, we’ll produce our first journeyworkers out of that area.”

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