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$1,500 ‘Tools of the Trade’ Scholarships Help Cover Cost of Equipment, Tools and Clothing to Keep Apprentices on Path to Success.

(WAUSAU, Wis.) – Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is pleased to announce that 11 adult apprentices have received scholarships from Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates). Ascendium Education Group is continuing its successful Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship program for a sixth straight year.

A total of $298,500 in scholarships were awarded recently to 199 construction and industrial trades apprentices from 15 Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) institutions. Each apprentice received $1,500. Apprentices at NTC who received scholarships include:

  • Ben Fischer, Maintenance Mechanic/Millwright
  • Pamela Getzloff, Maintenance Mechanic/Millwright
  • Alex Kersting Sr., Maintenance Mechanic/Millwright
  • Travis Lang, Plumbing
  • Paul Meyer, Machinist/Tool and Die/Moldmaker/Toolmaker
  • Timothy Nowak, Maintenance Technician
  • Ken Pittsley, Electrical & Instrumentation
  • Craig Scheunemann, Maintenance Mechanic/Millwright
  • Jeffrey Schmelzer, Electrical & Instrumentation
  • Jonathon Smith, Plumbing
  • Gerry Ullman, Maintenance Mechanic/Millwright

With high demand for skilled employees, apprenticeships offer a win-win solution. Apprentices gain up to five years of real-world work experience while attending school, and businesses gain access to skilled workers with legitimate on-the-job experience.

But financial pressure can make it hard to complete an apprenticeship. Apprentices are often juggling the pressures of school, work and family, while apprentice wages are modest and financial aid options are limited. Meanwhile, apprentices incur substantial costs beyond tuition, such as purchasing tools, clothing and other supplies. Tools of the Trade scholarships provide funds to help cover those expenses.

Since the program’s inception, 95% of Tools of the Trade scholarship recipients have either completed or continued their apprenticeships the following semester. This year, Ascendium surpassed the $1 million mark in total Tools of the Trade scholarships awarded.

“Our scholarships help learners overcome financial barriers so they can focus on successfully completing their apprenticeship and advancing to an in-demand trade career,” said Ascendium Chairman, President and CEO Richard D. George. “We’re proud to help Wisconsin’s hardworking apprentices build brighter futures.”

To learn more about the Tools of the Trade Apprentice Scholarship program, visit

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About Ascendium: Elevating opportunity through the power of higher education since 1967 Ascendium Education Group (formerly Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates) is the nation’s largest student loan guarantor, a leading postsecondary education and workforce training philanthropy, and a provider of student success services for colleges and universities. Founded in 1967, Ascendium provides information, tools and counseling to millions of borrowers nationwide, helping them avoid default and keep the door to re-enrollment open. Ascendium’s philanthropy provides grant funding to educational institutions and researchers aimed at eliminating systemic obstacles to postsecondary success. Our grantmaking focuses on students from low-income families, a disproportionate number of whom are students of color and first-generation students. To learn more, visit and

Northcentral Technical College ( is north central Wisconsin’s premier two-year college of choice and is a resource for all District residents. It provides individuals, organizations and businesses with quality skills training in a wide range of programs designed to build a competitive, technologically advanced workforce in today’s rapidly changing global environment. NTC has seven convenient locations and three Centers of Excellence in Antigo, Medford, Merrill, Phillips, Spencer, Wausau and Wittenberg.