Gov. Walker stops in Eau Claire to talk about apprenticeships, L - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker stops in Eau Claire to talk about apprenticeships, Lincoln Hills plans

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Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Governor Scott Walker was in Eau Claire Friday talking to students about their future in the Wisconsin workforce. 

The governor stopped at North High School to encourage kids to take advantage of the state's youth apprenticeship programs. He said about ten years ago, things were bleak for anyone entering the job market. Today, though, he said the sky's the limit for people looking for work in Wisconsin. 

"Now, more than ever, we need to connect the dots between the jobs that are available and the skill sets needed to fill those jobs," Gov. Walker said. 

It didn't take long for the conversation to turn to his new plans reforming the state's juvenile justice system. 

Walker wants to turn the youth prisons Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake into medium-security adult prisons and open five smaller youth facilities around the state, and expand a facility in Madison. 

He said multiple sites will mean fewer inmates at each location, allowing them to stay closer to their home counties. 

The prisons have been surrounded by controversy for years and are currently at the center of an FBI investigation. Friday, News 18 asked Governor Walker why he's never taken the time to visit either location. 

"I don't remember a whole lot of governors that have gone to prisons. Usually you go to schools and job openings and things like that," Walker said. "Going there is good for a press opportunity, but it doesn't do anything to actually run it." 

Under Walker's plan, the changes would not take effect until the 2019-20-21 budget is passed, though a spokesperson said if the Legislature agrees to advance the plan sooner, the governor would support the move. 

We also asked Walker about Dana Wach's accusation the governor used a state plane to travel a private campaign event. His response can be found here.

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