Sebastian in front of Komfort truck

This article originally appeared on the YouthBuild Workforce GPS website on January 4, 2023.


As Elkhorn YouthBuild continues to grow, it continues to build consistent, secure, and effective participant training and apprenticeship opportunities. 

As Elkhorn YouthBuild continues to grow, Job Developer Chris Trottier has successfully formed multiple partnerships with local businesses in Walworth County, Wisconsin. His hard work means consistent, secure, and effective participant training and apprenticeship opportunities. 

Chris aligned himself closely with Walworth County Economic Development Alliance, Walworth Job Center, and the Rotary Club of Elkhorn to find strong partnerships and create new ones. He would then go straight to many employers to learn for what they were looking for in job seekers. Chris also shares more about Elkhorn YouthBuild and the value of an apprenticeship partnership for their organization. 

“Apprenticeship pathways and opportunities can fail without persistence, and Chris kept on persisting,” said Dr. Kelly Demerath, Principal of Career and College Academy, where Elkhorn YouthBuild operates. “He ensured that the outreach message was clear – and that a partnership with YouthBuild has real potential for both a pursued business and its industry.”

This became especially important when the job market changed dramatically in Walworth County once the pandemic began. Fast food chains shifted quickly to provide more immediate benefits for workers, such as higher hourly pay. So, Chris and other staff members (including an employer services team) quickly pivoted to create more pathways as a part of the YouthBuild program. They worked together to outline the skills participants needed to learn for various industries. Then they worked on forming relationships with businesses in those industries that would invest in young people long term. 

“Now we can tell our participants, ‘If there are things you want in your life, this is what you’re going to need to fuel those future dreams, and here’s how our YouthBuild program can help you get there,’” Kelly added. 

Participants in the apprenticeship program start with YouthBuild programming and then advance to working in a field as apprentices in pathways such as welding, construction, and manufacturing. 

Sebastion Coy, a recent Elkhorn YouthBuild graduate, spent a good part of his time as a YouthBuild participant helping to build a home for a family in the community. When he moved on to an HVAC youth apprenticeship with Komfort Heating and Cooling, he also worked toward completing a 16-credit Welding Maintenance and Fabrication Technical Diploma at Gateway Technical College nearby. 

The combination of apprenticeship opportunities and advanced training at the local technical college gave Sebastian a chance to complete his technical diploma and advance into a more skilled apprenticeship with stackable credentials. 

After Sebastian completed his apprenticeship at Komfort Heating and Cooling, he continued working there past graduation and continues to work there today.