A New Class of Apprentices
By Rachel Darken, Administrative Assistant
A new school year has started, and with it comes Fleet’s latest class of high school apprentices. Our apprenticeship program began in full force in January 2018, and including this year’s class of apprentices, we have worked with 13 high school students over the last three years.
Last month, we welcomed four apprentices from three Madison high schools into three apprenticeship pathways – representing our largest class of apprentices at Fleet at the same time, ever. Each is committing to a minimum of 450 hours of work while continuing to take relevant coursework. If they meet all the requirements by the end of the year, they will receive school credit in addition to the regular paycheck, on-the-job experience, and mentorship they will be getting all year long in this elite education partnership between Fleet and Madison Metropolitan School District.
Charlie Sorenson is in his junior year at LaFollette High School, and is working in the Auto Technician Mobile Equipment Maintenance pathway. He wants to pursue a career in the automotive field, so he jumped at the opportunity to apply with Fleet in order to “learn more about the automotive industry from a unique perspective.” After high school, he plans to apply to the diesel program at Madison College. This is Charlie’s first job, and he works alongside Fleet Technician Trevor Erdman.
Olivia Busalacchi, a senior at Memorial High School, is also working in the Auto Technician Mobile Equipment Maintenance pathway. She came to us with a lot of hands-on experience from her schoolwork, an apprenticeship at West Town Monona Tire, her participation on the Memorial Skills USA competition team, and an independent study in motorcycle mechanics. Olivia is most interested in learning about the variety of vehicles we work with, and hopes to develop a solid understanding of how to do different procedures. After graduation, she plans to take a gap year to work, travel, and make plans for her future. Olivia splits her
time at Fleet working with two technicians: Andrew Harrison, who works mainly on equipment used by the Engineering Department, and Mike Dahmen, who does a lot of work on our police squads.
Luc Meuzelaar is our first-ever apprentice working on the Logistics/Supply Chain Management pathway. In this pathway, Luc works alongside our team in the Parts Department, learning the intricacies of this sometimes overlooked but integral piece of the automotive industry. He is a senior at Memorial High School and a competitive rock climber in his spare time. So far, Luc is most surprised by the variety of parts we stock for so many different vehicles. Next year, he plans to attend Madison College for auto mechanics and metal fabrication. Luc is working alongside our Parts Leadworker Dan Giesen and Parts Technician John Kraak.
Pranab Adhikari, a senior at West High School, is our inaugural apprentice in the Information Technology Essentials pathway. He hopes to pursue a career in computer sciences, and is excited to gain professional experience with us while building a strong IT base. Through Pranab’s projects, he is already learning about our environmental sustainability initiatives and our safety programs, including Vision Zero, and is looking forward to seeing the impact of these programs in the future. He plans to attend University of Wisconsin-Madison after graduation. Pranab works closely with our Data Analyst David Coy, while also assisting Maintenance Program Administrator Brett Rosenau and me with various projects.
These four students are continuing what has become a robust and evolving apprenticeship program. One of our very first apprentices, Nathaniel Imrie, is still working with us today in the second phase of our program. As a current student at Madison College with three years of experience at Fleet, Nathaniel works independently on a greater variety of vehicles, and is a mentor in his own right to the next apprentices to come through our doors. We are excited to see what we can accomplish together this year!