It would be difficult to find a company that is more passionate about apprenticeship in Wisconsin than Dave Jones, Inc. (DJI). The company offers careers in four trades, including plumbing, HVAC, fire protection and electrical for new home construction, new multi-family structures, and service and remodel.
DJI currently has 135 contracted apprentices in the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program and has been a trailblazer of providing high school students with youth apprenticeship opportunities to explore construction careers. The company has been training apprentices for 27 years since it was approved as an apprenticeship trainer by the State of Wisconsin.
Apprenticeships, which have been around in Wisconsin since 1911, serve an important role in offering opportunities for individuals to become skilled in a specific area of expertise, which in turn, helps employers fill in-demand positions.
November 14-20, 2022 is National Apprenticeship Week. It’s takes on an extra-special meaning this year with Wisconsin surpassing 15,000 apprentices in all industries and ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship surpassing 2,000 active apprentices for the first time this year.
For Dave Jones, Inc., it began in 1977 when founder Dave Jones started the company in his Mt. Horeb garage. Dave received the Hall of Fame Award in 2019 from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) for his distinguished contributions to apprenticeship in the state.
“My passion for apprenticeship was learned by going through apprenticeship myself and appreciating the opportunity that I had,” Dave said. “I enjoy seeing all the young people that go through apprenticeship that end up being journeymen or masters and have very successful careers.”
Dave trained numerous apprentices in his time with the company, many of whom are now running companies, including his son, Greg.
“When I was in ABC’s apprenticeship program, I thought a lot about the opportunities that I’d have after; a strong career in the trades, leadership roles, and the ability to physically contribute to building the community around me,” Greg said.
Greg started as an apprentice in 1999, worked his way to become a journeyman and currently holds his master plumbing license. In 2015, Greg and his sister, Holly (Jones) Kellesvig, took over management of the company.
DJI places a strong emphasis on company culture. It is family-oriented with an environment that provides team members with the tools and resources they need to thrive, especially apprenticeship. DJI has grown into one of the largest mechanical subcontractors in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.
“Now, as CEO of Dave Jones, Inc., I think about the opportunities we, as a company, are privileged to give past, present, and future apprentices on our team. We’re incredibly proud to have the largest apprenticeship program in the state and to be part of an apprentice’s journey toward their career and life goals.”