Fleet Achieves the Apprentice Trifecta
By Mahanth Joishy, Fleet Superintendent
While many employers might offer students the opportunity to work, get paid, and earn real-world skills that can help their careers and personal lives well into the future, few can claim to be full-fledged educational institutions like we do here at City of Madison Fleet Headquarters on Nakoosa Trail. All of the 15 students that have matriculated with us so far since the apprenticeship program was launched in January 2018 came through our close partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) work-based learning program and the City's Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program. A majority of those have been minorities or women who have joined a field that is severely under-represented by both demographics on the national level.
However, for the first time in the Fall 2022 semester we are proud to have reached a new milestone. Currently we have three students working with us year-round, all of them at different levels.
Adan Martinez is a high school senior at East High School working at Fleet for the first time this fall. He is earning $14.31 per hour, 12 hours per week and has quickly made an impression on my colleagues and I here with his cheerfulness, good attitude, and pure joy and excitement to learn about the mechanical trades every morning. You might find him working on a squad car while he is on the shop floor, gaining new knowledge and experience every single shift that he can use either in a future workplace, or in his own home garage.
Luc Meuzelaar started with us in 2021 as a high school senior from Memorial High School and is now enrolled at Madison College, the technical college just up the road from us where many of our full-time employees graduated from. Luc has stayed on to work on the shop floor next to our full-time Fleet Technicians, working on vehicles such as fire engines and mowers and now earning $17.72 per hour. We hope he stays with us well beyond this semester, so well-respected is Luc’s work within our shop at all levels.
Pranab Adhikari was also a high school senior when he started working at Fleet until he graduated from West High School. However, he is on a different although just as important path, sitting at a desk and working on data analysis in our front office, earning $17.72 per hour, while attending UW-Madison as a Freshman majoring in Computer Science. We are heavily data-driven when it comes to daily operations as well as future planning, and Pranab is an integral part of all of it.
Each of these youngsters is contributing a great deal to Fleet’s mission, and therefore helping City operations keep rolling smoothly every day for our community. But we expect much bigger and better things from them in the months and years to come. We aren’t aware of many other organizations that have successfully integrated high school, technical college, and 4-year university students into daily operations seamlessly and year-round like we have. But we strongly believe every organization SHOULD be doing this TODAY. If you’d like to find out how, come by Nakoosa Trail and we’ll show you.