Give Back MKE: Training for Life

Here’s why you should consider donating to GPS Education Partners as part of Give Back Milwaukee.

At GPS Education Partners (GPSED), students in the Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship Program divide their day between classroom learning at a GPSEd Education Center and work-based training at companies like Generac, Bradley Corp., Waukesha Metal and many more, where they learn from and work with professional mentors on the job. By the time their apprenticeship is done, they’ll have crucial, marketable work and life skills and will be ready to face graduation a step ahead of many of their peers.

After a career at Harley-Davidson, Mary Ann Martiny knows the importance of manufacturers in Milwaukee. As GPSEd’s director of community engagement, she helps build unique educational programming that strengthens communities.

GPS Education Partners Manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship Program matches high school students with apprenticeships at companies in and around Milwaukee and in the Fox Cities.

“Many GPSEd students enter the program significantly behind grade level in most of their academic classes. Not only do they overcome their academic deficiencies, they get exposure, experience and credentials needed to gain employment and build a sustainable future as a proud and capable tradesperson,” says Martiny.

But training doesn’t stop on the job. With the help of volunteers, students are taught life skills, such as banking and how to write a resume and interview effectively, to empower them post-graduation and, ultimately, in their first job. GPS Education Partners reports a 93% graduation rate among its students with 76% of its graduates employed full-time.

“We’ve impacted thousands of people over the years,” says Laura Derpinghaus, the director of marketing and communications at GPSEd. “What students learn in our program is second to none because we focus on the entire student. They’re given the chance to be employable and be a leader. If you don’t expose them early to these viable careers, it hurts both the student as well as the community.”


GPS Education Partners prepares students with work and life skills that help them succeed in technical careers more rapidly than traditional pathways while also promoting business viability.


• Your donation supports work-based apprenticeships for at-risk students by helping cover program fees, career and life-skill training plans, industry credentials, tech fees, mentor training and so much more.

• Funds also go to providing work-based learning experiences that develop career awareness for younger students.

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This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s December issue.

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A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.