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L-C senior Morgan Westlund, participant in NEWYA and Rising Phoenix programs, attends Biden event on career readiness

Luxemburg-Casco High School senior Morgan Westlund recently had the opportunity to attend a special event that encapsulated her personal accomplishments within the Northeast Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship (NEWYA) and Rising Phoenix programs. Both initiatives are part of the district’s focus on ensuring its students are both career- and community-ready upon
graduation.


First lady Jill Biden visited Northeast Wisconsin on February 16 for a roundtable discussion focused on career-oriented learning and the

Biden administration’s investments in youth apprenticeship programs. She was joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.


“It was a really awesome opportunity. I got to talk to Mayor Genrich about my apprenticeship and to first lady Biden. She wanted to know how the youth apprenticeship was getting me prepared for college,” says Westlund. “She was very interested in my experiences with youth apprenticeship and the Rising Phoenix program.”


Westlund’s youth apprenticeship is with the Green Bay Conservation Corps, which is an AmeriCorps program initiated by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department to bring more conservation efforts to Green Bay. According to the City of Green Bay, among the responsibilities of corps members are improving the native habitat with restoration practices and invigorating pollinator habits with new native plantings.


Her invitation to the event with first lady Biden came from Mayor Genrich’s office, which was aware of her youth apprenticeship work.
Westlund, who began her time in NEWYA this past October, shared that her initial focus has been on removing invasive species within city parks. In the coming months, it will shift to native plants.

 

Her youth apprenticeship experience dovetails well into her future career aspirations. Westlund plans to major in environmental science at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and her ultimate goal is to be an environmental policy analyst.

She will be well on her way to a bachelor’s degree before ever enrolling at UW-Stevens Point thanks to her participation in the Rising Phoenix program, a collaboration between UW-Green Bay and area school districts to provide students with dual-credit opportunities. By the time she graduates from L-C this May, Westlund will hold an associate degree, having achieved 60 college credits over the course of her junior and senior years of high school.


Westlund spends every-other school day on the UW-Green Bay campus, taking many of her Gen Ed classes in subjects like biology, the social sciences and math.


“It’s been a blast,” Westlund says of the Rising Phoenix experience. “I have had so much fun.”


Westlund shared that, having heard from a number of youth-apprenticeship peers at the event with first lady Biden, she believes Northeast Wisconsin is doing an amazing job of getting students ready for postsecondary careers. Even more, she has experienced this firsthand.


“I think we are doing amazing things in career preparation at L-C,” says Westlund. “It’s already gotten me so far ahead in life.”