MILWAUKEE — We Energies is giving some Milwaukee Public Schools students a hands-on opportunity to see if they have what it takes to keep the lights on and the energy flowing as they look to recruit more workers.
"What we get in doing this program is the retention of diverse talent," said Jennifer Buchanan, the program manager for We Energies internship and apprenticeship programs.
Students within Milwaukee Public Schools rolled up their sleeves and got to work learning the ins and outs of one of Wisconsin's largest energy companies.
"I'm probably more interested in the line mechanic, or the cord cable underground. I thought those two were my favorite so far," said Nadia Wiseman, a junior a Bay View High School.
Every year We Energies connects with juniors in high school to help them begin training to become line mechanics or gas technician interns for the summer. Caain Saavedra took part in the internship program nearly two years ago, and has been working with the company ever since.
"I knew it paid well, and I knew I would have job security. I completely recommend the program for high school kids," said Saavedra.
Buchanan says it's important to expose students to different trade and learning opportunities that don't necessarily break the bank. On average, the cost of obtaining a degree from a trade school is around $33,000, compared to an average of $132,000 for a bachelor's degree, including tuition fees.
"From there you can come straight in the door, have no loans to pay off, and have an earning potential of over $100,000. Nothing to pay back to the government," said Buchanan.
Officials add that once students get into the trade, the possibilities of where they can go in this career are endless.
"A lot of kids these days aren't into engineering and stuff. So, I think it's really nice that they provide for you to come and see what they do, so they can catch your interest and open for opportunities for you," said Wiseman.