The purpose of the apprenticeship program is to recruit and train people who are interested in a career in operating and maintaining heavy equipment. The Wisconsin Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Program is sponsored by IUOE LOCAL 139 in conjunction with the Associated General Contractors of Wis-consin (AGC of WI), Associated Con-struction Employers Association (ACEA), Wisconsin Underground Contractors Association (WUCA) and Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association (WTBA).


OPERATING ENGINEERS are the operators of what is generally referred to as HEAVY EQUIPMENT such as Cranes, Dozers, Scrapers, Loaders, Motor Graders, Tractor Loader Back-hoes, Excavators, Rollers, Pavers, Concrete Plants and Mixers, Compressors, Pumps and so on.

THE WORK SITE for an Operating Engineer will be at construction projects such as commercial and residential developments, dams, roadways, etc. It may also be in plants that produce rock, sand & gravel, or in the clean-up of hazardous waste sites. This could mean working in isolated areas, or right downtown in a major city. It also means reliable transportation is a must for Operating Engineers.

MAINTENANCE AND SERVICING of equipment is another part of the job. Any schooling you take for engine, hydraulic and electrical repair will be to your advantage. Also, many of our machines now use computers for part of their control systems.


GOOD WAGE RATES and fringe benefits may be responsible, in part, for your attraction to this trade. This is easily understood, as it is to your advantage to pick a vocation that is both interesting to you and includes the possibility of a comfortable living. That, however, is only one part of the picture. You should be aware operating engineer work is usually seasonal which means three or four months during the winter months when the majority of work is shut down. Also, the nature of the work many times requires that you work far from home.


Applications will be available and accepted on the SECOND and FOURTH TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH FROM MARCH THROUGH NOVEMBER at “Information Sessions” held at the Coloma Training Center. Applicants must arrive no later than 9:00 am at the Coloma Training Center, W11584 State Road 21, Coloma. DOORS WILL CLOSE PROMPTLY AT 9:00 AM sharp.

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Valid driver’s license (copy required at time of application)
  • High School Diploma or GED (Transcripts O.K.) Proof of Education must meet accreditation standards through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (copy required at time of application)
  • Must be able to meet the physical requirements of the job, which include working in a variety of weather conditions and confined areas with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Must complete a written Job Skills Test prior to acceptance into the apprenticeship program. ACT, or Accuplacer scores meeting the prescribed minimum taken within the last 10 years can be accepted in lieu of the Job Skills Test offered at our Training Center. ($15.00 fee payable to WOE – Cash or Money Order – at the time of the test)


THE BEST WAY to learn the skills of an Operating Engineer is to do the work of an Operating Engineer. Therefore, an Apprentice will actually work on the job, learning from journey worker operators. Each apprentice must work 6000 hours (approximately four years), and is paid a percentage of journey level wages. Apprentice wages start at approximately $21/hour with regular raises to approximately $32/hour. Journey level operators make approximately $32*/hour depending on the contract. * Based on 2013 wages.

IN THE CLASSROOM the apprentice will supplement on-the-job training with mandatory related instruction courses which are conducted during the course of the apprenticeship. Apprentices receive instruction in safe operating procedures, construction fundamentals, first aid and CPR, Tele-Handler/Forklift safety certification, MSHA, OSHA 10+, Operator Qualification and 40–Hour Hazmat training as well as many other pertinent classes. 400 hours of instruction is required at the Wisconsin Operating Engineers Training Site located on 380 acres near Coloma, Wisconsin in Waushara County. All apprenticeship classes are accredited through Fox Valley Technical College.

IN THE FIELD apprentices who are serving a 6,000 hour on-the-job apprentice-ship will be trained in specific processes necessary for heavy equipment operation.

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