MADISON, WI, May 7, 2021 — Eight ABC of Wisconsin members took time away from their businesses and families to come to the Wisconsin State Capitol and advocate for a positive change for Wisconsin apprenticeships. The members testified in an Assembly Workforce Development Committee hearing on Assembly Bill 115 and Senate companion Bill 125, which would put apprenticeship on equal tax exemption footing with other post-high school education options.
The bills would provide an income tax deduction for individuals to subtract any tuition expenses or mandatory student fees paid by the individual or the individual’s dependent for participation in an apprenticeship program approved by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). This includes apprentices in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program.
“Getting into an apprentice program does not come without some challenges for the student,” said Sara Fredrickson, Human Resources manager for Precision Drive and Control (PDC) in Monroe. “They must go through an application process that gears them toward their selected career. They need to fully commit & invest themselves into the program from the get go,” she told the committee.
A similar deduction is provided for those who pay for college and university tuition in Wisconsin.
“It is important to continue to take the steps to treat apprenticeship as equal to bachelors and associate degrees,” said Gerry Krebsbach, president/co-owner K-W Electric in Plymouth. “Not only will it put a little more money in the pockets of hard-working apprentices when they need it the most, the change will knock down another difference between apprenticeship and other versions of post-high school education,” he added.
“Ultimately anything we can do, like allowing tuition to be tax deductible, to get more people into apprenticeship programs will benefit the trades, and many business in Wisconsin,” Fredrickson said.
Other members who testified included Jeff Anderson (Bob Anderson Builders), Fernanda Balthazor (NSI Electrical Contractors), JR Reesman (Reesman Excavating & Grading), Tammy Fox (ASG Electric), Ashley Schumacher (Dave Jones, Inc.) and Roger Thimm (Wondra Construction).