June 14, 2013
From witc.edu: “WITC kisses the Blarney Stone” – It is said that kissing the Blarney stone at Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland, will endow the kisser with great skill at verbal flattery. A delegation from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College hopes that’s true as they recently returned from an 11-day cultural exchange experience with Waterford Institute of Technology in Waterford, Ireland.
WITC students toured manufacturing facilities in Ireland and participated in a variety of seminars at Waterford on the topics of international business and Irish culture. In a closing ceremony, WITC students received a certificate of achievement.
Student participant, Bea Valadez, described the experience as “a trip of a lifetime. The faculty at Waterford were engaging.”
According to Dr. Alex Birkholz of WITC, “The students experienced both work and academic life in Ireland. Ireland and Wisconsin share many industry sectors and degree programs. In a global economy, it is important that WITC students see how even small Western Wisconsin companies can benefit from alliances with economies like Ireland.”
WITC has offered international learning opportunities to its students for the past three years, with this being the first trip to Ireland. The students paid their own way through fundraising activities. An agreement between the Wisconsin Technical College System and Irish Institutes of Technology fosters collaboration between the two educational systems.
From thomasnet.com: “Skilled Trades Educators & Employers: We Need to be Better Partners” – At a workforce development meeting last week, manufacturing educators and employers from across the Midwest and elsewhere in the U.S. agreed that much greater collaboration between the private sector and teaching institutions is needed to fix the U.S. industrial labor skills gap.
About 35 community college and technical school educators and human resource managers of manufacturing companies, along with workforce development experts, met at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International’s (FMA) T.E.A.M. Summit in Anoka, Minn., to tackle the multifaceted and complex manufacturing talent crisis. They concluded that foundational changes must be made in curriculum education in college and high schools, certification and credentialing programs, and internships and apprenticeships.
Moreover, the group discussed different ways to change negative public perceptions about manufacturing, stimulate younger generations into entering the sector, and create greater employee engagement, development, and retention at manufacturing businesses. But the biggest challenge, both teachers and employers acknowledged, is overcoming the disconnect that currently exists between the educational system and the private sector in preparing students with the skills they require to become effective workers.
Despite coming from different areas around the country, skilled trades instructors and program administrators lamented a similar lack of engagement by manufacturing businesses in their student development efforts. Years of under-coordination with employers have resulted in numerous situations where the graduates and would-be employees they produce do not match up with job competencies.
Larry Clark, who teaches welding and metal fabrication at Moraine Park Technical College, in Fond du Lac, Wis., said that while several local manufacturers are members of the school’s manufacturing program advisory committee, they meet with faculty just twice per year. “We need an engaged faculty working with employers,” he said.
Today’s shop floor skills in advanced manufacturing facilities can be highly specialized, but employers have not been defining them specifically enough to educators, according to Dave Stotelmyre, machine shop instructor at Kirkwood Community College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. That problem is magnified because of the rapid pace of manufacturing technology advances. He said the school has had difficulties placing the right candidates into area manufacturers, as a result.
“Companies need to have some forethought and identify what their needs are,” Stotelmyre said. “When the [employees] are not what they expected, now the specifics start flowing out.” He said companies “need to be involved right up front” with schools, working together as partners in developing the right manufacturing employees.
“Manufacturers, in general, don’t think that educating their future workforce is their job,” said Pat Lee of the FMA.
Larry Clark (left), of Moraine Park Technical College in Fond Du Lac, Wis., talks shop with Dennis Ringgenberg (middle) and Dave Stotelmyre (right), both from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Credit: William Ng
“This problem has been around for a long time,” said John Calver, director of the Advanced Manufacturing Excellence Center at Thomas Nelson Community College, in Hampton, Va. “It was ignored because their immediate needs were still being met – until now.”
He equated talent development to a supply chain whose design, long-range planning, and execution require private-sector commitment. “Employers don’t see educators in the supply-chain light,” said Calver, who added that when businesses look to schools for people, they “expect to have it tomorrow.” He described those expectations as being “unrealistic.”
Clark of Moraine Park Technical College said that when manufacturers call the school, “they’re desperate.”
Manufacturers, likewise, have struggled with alignment issues with education institutions. In southwest Louisiana, Begneaud Manufacturing Inc., a precision sheet metal fabrication shop based in Lafayette, has had trouble finding workers skilled in TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding due partly to local schools teaching only stick (arc) welding. “There are seven welding programs and five machining programs in my area, but no TIG welding,” said Andree Begneaud, employee relations director and co-owner of the 55-employee company, who spoke on a panel at the FMA T.E.A.M. Summit.
The manufacturer therefore began internships that offer locally enrolled welding students opportunities to add TIG welding to their skill sets. “We are doing the TIG welding component of local education programs, where students spend three days a week at Begneaud,” she said. Yet in Louisiana, internships are not considered a part of the state’s educational system, but, still, they must be approved and sanctioned before they can be implemented.
Wilson Tool International, headquartered in White Bear Lake, Minn., is another business that had difficulties with schools. Its internship programs are aimed at nurturing high school students to become CNC machinists, as well as mechanical designers and mechanical maintenance operators. “We were looking to partner with high schools, but it was difficult,” said Amanda Kehoe, director of human resources at the company, which makes tooling systems for punch presses and press brakes, and punch and die components for sheet metal stamping equipment. “I couldn’t get [any school official] to talk to me. And schools didn’t allow kids out of their buildings.”
“Make friends with instructors, and bring schools to your company,” Laura Elsner, workforce development manager for DeWys Manufacturing, a machine shop and metal fabricator based in Marne, Mich., advised other manufacturers during a presentation at the FMA event. “You have to build the relationship, and work with educators, not against them. Get to know the right people at schools.”
Although DeWys initially began a 12-week educational curriculum and training course that was just internal for its own manufacturing operations, the 140-person company has struck partnerships with both area post-secondary educational institutions and high schools. It is now collaborating with Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, and Grand Rapids Community College in the areas of weld engineering, manufacturing engineering, and machining. The company is also involved in Coopersville High School’s Manufacturing Engineering Partnership Program, and with Kenowa Hills High School on conducting hands-on manufacturing camps for teenagers.
That proactive approach ensures that manufacturing employers have a talent pipeline that possesses the particular skills they need, said Gabrielle Caputo, Americas product manager for the manufacturing and logistics markets for global staffing company Kelly Services, headquartered in Troy, Mich. A keynote speaker at the FMA meeting, Caputo, who has 15 years of experience in workforce development and talent acquisition, said to the summit’s participants, “Look at your internal talent and develop your own talent supply chain.”
The manufacturing labor pool is aging. Before 2018, 78.5 million baby boomers will have left the workforce, Caputo said, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. At Wilson Tool, the average employee age is 45. “We have a very senior workforce,” Kehoe said. There is a sense of urgency now to make sure huge chunks of the labor pool are refilled. And that will drive greater cooperation between educators and employers, they expect.
“We have to get better at matching faculty teaching to real-world employer needs,” said Katherine Whelchel, a project manager for Bio-Link, a National Advanced Technological Education Center, part of the National Science Foundation.
That sentiment was echoed by Matthew Salo, biomedical market development manager and program advisor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, in Coon Rapids, Minn., who said private-public partnerships must have a sense of “matching employer-needed outcomes with what the schools are capable of delivering.”
Jeff Stapel, human resources manager at Schickel Corp., a metal fabricator and machine shop in Bridgewater, Va., noted, “I want to focus on doing more for my people, exploring the new welding program at my local community college.” He added, “I appreciate having new contacts who can help me.”
“I know I need to get a good relationship going with my local technical college,” said Dan Bushman, human resources and safety manager for Northern Metal Fab Inc., in Baldwin, Wis. “I need to overcome the awkward formality dance we’re doing, and I know I need to take responsibility for making this happen.”
June 10, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Program’s new approach to bridge skills gap? Talk to employers” – To some, it’s the scourge of the industrial Midwest. To others, it’s an economic mystery.
Why does it remain difficult to find workers to fill job openings at a time of persistently high unemployment? The phenomenon defies logic, not to mention Economics 101. Many manufacturers say they’d hire more people, and create more employment in the process, if only they could find qualified candidates.
The “skills gap,” as the issue is known, has not gone away in Wisconsin, even after years of debate, theories, white papers and innumerable complaints from frustrated plant managers.
Recent weeks have produced a flurry of fresh research and initiatives, showing that the disconnect continues to touch a raw nerve in a state known for its machine shops and metalworkers.
“Some people don’t think that it’s a reality,” said David Mitchell, president of Monarch Corp., a privately held Milwaukee machining and metal fabrication company. “But the skills gap is real. I live it every day. There’s not enough skilled labor out there. It really is my number one impediment to growth. I can find new customers. I can find new industries.”
Mitchell co-chairs a newly launched initiative, sponsored by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, called the Manufacturing Careers Partnership. The MMAC program aims to systematically learn the exact needs of local industry, based on surveys of employers in southeastern Wisconsin, and then share the findings with the leading technical training colleges, such as the Milwaukee Area Technical College, so they can adjust their curriculum to the needs of the economy.
It will develop a pilot program for welders, which is the best known example of industrial skills shortages. Once the pilot program for welders is up and running, the partnership wants to adapt that pilot model to other areas of the economy, with machinists next in line, said Shelley Jurewicz, who is overseeing the MMAC effort.
The notion of canvassing employers on their needs seems long overdue, Jurewicz said.
“It sounds like something that should have been done already, but it wasn’t,” she said.
“People are holding back on investment, because they don’t know if they should expand, because they don’t know if they have ready talent,” said Scott Jansen, director of the newly created Office of Skills Development, an arm of the state Department of Workforce Development.
Jansen’s job will be to build a new agency within the agency, with its own $15 million budget for 2014-’15. The funding is earmarked for customized job-training programs, tailored for the specific needs of Wisconsin-based employers.
At the same time, the state workforce agency last month said it plans to hire a Boston-based web development firm to build an automated online system to connect “job seekers with openings that employers need to fill.”
The issue is hardly limited to Wisconsin. The competition to find talent has become a global pursuit that vexes many industries, as California’s high-tech industries recruit engineers from India and Wisconsin’s welding shops cede work to Texas, according to research at ManpowerGroup Inc., the global recruitment and placement company based in Milwaukee.
Manpower, which studies talent shortage issues around the globe, says Wisconsin ranks as the No. 5 state in terms of demand for welders, behind Texas, Ohio, California and Pennsylvania. But Wisconsin does not even make it into the top 10 states in terms of the supply of welders.
Separately, Manpower used data from the CareerBuilder Internet-based job placement database to search for job advertisements for welders in metro Milwaukee between March 2012 and February 2013. It found 861 postings but only 183 active candidates for the positions.
A training disconnect?
There is broad consensus on a few of the main causes. One of the most-often cited is the perception that manufacturing is dumb, dirty, dangerous and declining. Kids who saw their parents’ generation endure layoffs, furloughs and plant shutdowns shun manufacturing careers.
Another problem, which has been cited for years, is that the main tech schools haven’t bothered to align their teaching curriculum with present-day needs, focusing on graduation rates instead of job placement rates, Jurewicz said.
“The tech colleges are crazy that they don’t talk with employers enough,” Jurewicz said. “Do I get frustrated? Of course I do.”
MATC spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said the school has established advisory committees for each of its associate degrees and technical diploma programs, meant to give input on the curriculum. “It’s a valuable part of our process,” Hohl said.
The MATC welding program, which has come under heavy outside criticism in recent years, currently has an adviser from GenMet Corp. in Mequon, one of the companies that have complained loudest about the inability to hire skilled metalworkers. It also has representatives from the two big metro Milwaukee mining equipment companies, Joy Global Inc. and Caterpillar Inc.
In addition, others in the region’s academic community strongly dispute that Wisconsin lacks skilled workers. One recent report referred to the notion as a “myth.”
That report by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found “no statistical evidence of a skills shortage.” One of its key findings was that wages in those trades, such as welding, have not increased in Wisconsin, as one would expect if those skills were in demand.
“If Wisconsin employers were encountering a shortage of skilled labor, wages would be going up, but in Wisconsin real wages have declined since 2000,” the report found. Nor is there evidence that Wisconsin employers added hours to their existing workforce to compensate for an alleged skilled labor shortage, it said.
However, others have expressed concerns not only that there is a real skills gap, but that it could get worse before it gets better.
Among the concerns: demographics and the looming retirement of the “baby boom” generation. Economists at the Department of Workforce Development project that roughly 1 million jobs will have opened up in Wisconsin between 2010 and 2020, including about 680,000 to replace workers leaving the workforce. Roughly 340,000 are growth positions.
Right now, it’s unclear whether enough replacement workers are in the pipeline.
State feels global wage pressure
And then there’s another issue: globalization-driven pressure on wages.
Wages in the United States have come under unprecedented pressure, partly from the last recession but also from low-wage foreign competition. In the most recent 12-month period, private-sector wages fell 1.1% across the entire U.S. economy.
Wisconsin feels wage pressure more acutely. In the most recent period with comparable data, Wisconsin’s wages were under twice as much pressure, falling 2.2% in the private sector.
At the same time, wages are rising in developing nations such as China in what amounts to a global leveling of wages.
For any industry that feels low-wage foreign competition, the phenomenon of wage equalization puts factory managers in a Catch-22: They can’t increase pay without becoming uncompetitive, but they can’t fill the jobs with uncompetitive wages, said Jonas Prising, a senior executive at Manpower.
The more closely a Wisconsin company competes with China, the less latitude that employer has to lure a worker with higher wages.
Globalization radically changes what used to be a textbook rule-of-thumb in the pre-global age: When there’s a shortage of labor, wages will rise to attract the talent. That is no longer a reliable expectation, Prising said.
Never before have companies and managers had such instant access to prevailing wage rates around the world, he said.
In its 2012 survey of U.S. employers who have trouble filling job openings, Manpower found that 54% said candidates turned down the work because they expected higher pay.
“The big difference today, compared to almost every other recession, is our understanding and transparency of wages and who we compete with and where,” Prising said. “This is a very new phenomenon.”
From bizjournals.com: “Gateway Technical College manufacturing programs earn industry recognition” – Gateway Technical College’s advanced manufacturing programs have received the stamp of approval of a national industry group.
The Manufacturing Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers that is dedicated to improving and expanding U.S. manufacturing, has named Gateway a charter member of the institute’s “M-List,” which recognizes schools that prepare workers to the level of industry standards in advanced manufacturing.
Gateway is the only charter member in Wisconsin to receive the honor, the college said.
The list recognizes programs that are aligned with industry standards and that award students with credentials in the “NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.”
“With such a trusted standard, it takes the guesswork out of hiring welders, machinists, production workers and other key positions that make manufacturing hum,” the institute said.
The list includes community colleges, technical schools, high schools, four-year colleges and universities.
June 4, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College honors apprentices” – Thirty apprentices were honored recently at Lakeshore Technical College’s annual Apprenticeship Completion Banquet at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.
The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs, according to a news release. In those programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.
Keynote speaker Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, recognized the apprenticeship completers and relayed his own personal experience as his mother works as a machinist and his father as a welder.
“Without apprentices, we wouldn’t have many of the modern conveniences we have today,” Newson said. “Apprentices have made things simple, convenient and have been driving innovation for years.”
Apprentices from Manitowoc County who were recognized at the banquet, including their apprenticeship area and sponsoring employer, are:
Francis Creek – Marshall Marquardt, carpenter (construction), Hamann Construction Co.;
Manitowoc – Russell Buretta, tool and die maker, LDI Industries; Eric Chase, machinist, KNM; Jason Hastreiter, machinist, HG Weber & Co.; Bruce Heimerman, maintenance mechanic, Federal Mogul Corp.; Matthew Heinzen, tool and die maker, Manitowoc Tool & Manufacturing; Brian Hetue, maintenance mechanic, PolyOne Corp.; Adam Korte, industrial electrician, Parker Hannifin Corp.; Daniel Luckow, machinist, Stecker Machine Co.; Jarek Ordiway, machinist, LDI Industries; Hayden Schmidt, machinist, Jagemann Stamping Co.; Paul Senn, maintenance mechanic, LDI Industries; Ryan Tollefson, sheet metal worker, Aldag Honold Mechanical; and
Whitelaw – Dennis Bratz, maintenance mechanic, Nemak.
From industrytoday.com: “Wisconsin: Leading America’s Manufacturing Resurgence” — Nimble, connected companies are exchanging information, analytics, lean processes and best practices with the traditional ingredients of skilled labor and machines to create and distribute products to customers across the globe.
May 15, 2013
From nbc26.com: “Walker stops in Green Bay for Jobs Tour” – Governor Scott Walker talks manufacturing and jobs Monday at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
He was part of a round-table discussion at NWTC. The Governor says his main goal Is to make it easier to create jobs In our state. “Manufacturing is still our bread and butter,” Walker explained. “It’s about 20 percent of the state’s GDP. It’s a little bit higher here in the northeast, and so today is important.. working with the chamber here and our regional partners to talk about manufacturing.”
The Governor says he plans to take part in similar discussions all throughout Wisconsin.
May 13, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Gateway Technical College offers its ‘fab lab’ in Sturtevant for small-business use” – When Pioneer Products Inc. was asked to make the tooling for a boat part that was designed in Germany, cast in Missouri, for use by a manufacturer in Florida, the Racine company used three-dimensional printing for a prototype that could be shared by everyone in the manufacturing process.
With 3-D printing, objects can be replicated by laying down successive, ultrathin sheets of plastic, metal or other materials from a computer drawing.
It’s like using a hot glue gun that’s controlled by a computer.
The process, more correctly called additive manufacturing, is already widely used in industry. Elaborate “printers” construct sophisticated parts, not just with plastic, but also with metals.
For the rest of us, a basic 3-D printer, fed by spools of plastic filament, can be bought for as little as $1,300.
As the cost of the technology comes down, more manufacturers, inventors and artists are using it to make either prototypes or finished products.
Three-dimensional printing can save a lot of time and money in the design process, said Dan Defaut, a manager with Pioneer Products, a machine shop that does work in a variety of industries including automotive, marine, medical and aerospace.
Gateway Technical College, in Sturtevant, has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other colleges on rapid prototyping projects that use 3-D printing.
Manufacturers – and anyone else – can use Gateway’s design fabrication laboratory for training or building a prototype with the latest technologies.
“A company like S.C. Johnson has a full slate of 3-D printers and experts on staff, so they can handle this. But smaller companies are working with us so they don’t have to buy all of this equipment,” said Greg Herker, fabrication lab program coordinator.
“We are targeting small and midsize companies. We also are trying to target more artists, architects and others, because that’s how the real world works. Products aren’t just designed by engineers,” Herker said.
An array of uses
Gateway is part of a not-for-profit program aimed at developing and expanding industry in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
That program, called the State of Ingenuity Initiative, funds a business incubator and laboratory in Rockford, Ill., that does rapid prototyping with 3-D printing using materials not yet available at Gateway.
“Our function in life is to help businesses grow so they can hire more people,” said Mike Cobert, director of the Eiger Lab, in Rockford.
Three-dimensional printers are now making all kinds of things, including medical devices, replacement parts for airliners, architectural models, jewelry and customized salt shakers.
Eiger Lab was hired to replicate museum artifacts in Italy because, by Italian law, the original items could not be taken from the museum for traveling exhibits.
The copies were sent to an Illinois company that cast them in bronze.
Eiger did something similar for the U.S. Capitol, where officials wanted to replace a chandelier. It also has done work for large companies that want 3-D printing for projects but don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the advanced equipment required for that type of work, partly because the technology is constantly changing.
Three-dimensional printing is well-suited for short production runs, one-off items where setting up a full production line wouldn’t be practical or affordable, and to make items suitable for sales pitches and meetings with investors.
It’s used for making customized prosthetics, where an exact fit is critical.
“Originally, this was just a model-making program. But right now, I think we are at the point where we are seeing many of the things that can be done with 3-D printing,” Herker said.
Affordable printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services, according to Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn., firm that follows technology trends.
Printers for hobbyists, who want to make things like jewelry and craft items, cost less than $2,000. Recently, the office supply retailer Staples began offering a 3-D printer that can produce objects in 16 colors and is aimed at the small-business market.
“It’s not that hard to operate the equipment. Once you have the design file, it’s almost like sitting at your computer and selecting the ‘print’ button,” Herker said.
The technology has spawned businesses such as 3D Creations, a Milwaukee firm that envisions a world where people have a printer at home that could download and make a replacement part for something like a vacuum cleaner.
The printers also are useful tools for inventors, said Jesse DePinto, co-founder of 3D Creations.
“It’s kind of like the do-it-yourself culture on steroids. There are people who want to make their own products, either to save money or because they can’t find what they want at the store,” he said.
Three-dimensional scanners, which scan objects and create the drawings used by 3-D printers to make things, are advancing the technology in ways now only imaginable.
“Ten years from now, assuming there’s a utopia where everybody has their own printer, not everybody will know how to design things with CAD (computer-aided design) software. So the easiest way would be to have a hand-held wand where you could scan something and replicate it,” DePinto said.
3-D PRINTED GUNS
A Texas company recently said it used a 3-D printer to make a plastic gun capable of firing real bullets and passing unnoticed through metal detectors, and that it posted the schematics online for anyone to use.
Critics say the technology means someone could open a gun factory in their garage, and that plastic guns could be manufactured by terrorists using readily available 3-D printers.
In theory, anyone could download the plans and use them to manufacture a weapon.
April 29, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Tech school expands to meet skills gap” – The training labs at Lakeshore Technical College have been booked solid, up to 18 hours a day, and the waiting lists are nearly 30 people deep.
“The waiting list for example, machine tool and especially our welding program, are such that we can have a program filled and before the start of the program, we already have almost the next program filled,” explained Executive Dean of Manufacturing Richard Hoerth.
With a changing job market, some employers have been dealing with what they call a skills gap.
They say they are willing to hire, but can’t find qualified people to fill the spots.
And it seems more people are beginning to understand the gap in skilled labor in the state. And so the college decided there’s only one way to address the growing need and interest, expand.
The more than $6 million project includes doubling the size of LTC’s Flexible Training Arena and modernizing the Trade and Industry building.
The expansion project is one of the largest of its kind for the nearly century old school. Officials expect the expansion will increase the number of graduates by 50 each year.
“The manufacturing sector in Manitowoc County and the lakeshore in general is extremely important. It’s about 37% of our employment,” explained Connie Loden, Executive Director of the Manitowoc County Economic Development Corporation.
Economic development officials feel the expansion is coming at the right time, but the skills gap stretches beyond Wisconsin.
According to an annual survey by ManpowerGroup, skilled trades was the hardest job to fill last year in the U.S, and it’s topped the charts since 2010.
“As the economy grows, we’re part of that solution and our employers need a skilled workforce to grow and that’s where we come in, is working with them and working with the students in the area,” explained LTC President Michael Lanser.
The college plans to break ground on the project in June. Officials say grants, loans and private investments will cover the costs.
In addition to this milestone, the college will celebrate its 100th anniversary on May 8th.
April 29, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Project GRILL unveiling on May 3 in Fond du Lac” – The smell of summer will soon be in the air as area students and business leaders gather for the 2013 Project GRILL unveiling.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Festival Foods parking lot, 1125 E. Johnson St. Admission is free, but the unveiling will include a brat fry to support the Project GRILL program.
Student creativity and hands-on manufacturing lessons combine to produce one-of-a-kind and sometimes unexpected charcoal grills. Project GRILL, a program of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, matches high school technical education departments with area manufacturers in a challenge to work together to design, test and build a grill.
This year, eight high school technical education departments have been paired with eight area manufacturers, according to an event press release. Partnerships include Campbellsport High School and Mid-States Aluminum, Fond du Lac High School and Nemesis Metals, Horace Mann High School and JF Ahern Co., Laconia High School and Mercury Marine, Lomira High School and Kondex Corp., Mayville High School and Mayville Engineering Co., Oakfield High School and Manowske Welding, and Winnebago Lutheran Academy and MAG.
Moraine Park Technical College is a supporting partner of Project GRILL, providing technical assistance and facilities.
For more information, visit www.fdlac.com or call the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce at (920) 921-9500.
From journaltimes.com: “Computer boot camp offered” – RACINE — A Youth Computer Numerical Control Boot Camp will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning July 15 to Aug. 30 at the SC Johnson iMET Center.
This is the first time this program is being offered in Racine County. The program connecting youth and local employers prepares Racine County youth for a career in manufacturing. Working with local employers and educators, the Racine County Workforce Development Center and Gateway Technical College are implementing the program this summer for the upcoming school year.
The Youth CNC Boot Camp will have the same curriculum as the adult boot camp, but the boot camp for youth will extend over longer periods of time. When the school year begins, students will attend their high school in the morning and boot camp classes at the iMET Center during the afternoon.
Students wishing to participate need to be at least 17 years old and entering their senior year of high school. Students will earn a high school diploma and college credit from Gateway Technical College upon completion of their senior year. The value of the training is $4,000, however, as a result of a grant from SC Johnson, there will be no cost to the student.
Students applying to the program will be required to visit a local manufacturing facility which employs CNC operators. Tour dates and times are included with the application materials. For more information regarding this program, students can visit www.gtc.edu/youth-cnc. Included is a YouTube video with information on the program. Student applications are available at Racine County high schools or at www.wdc.racineco.com. The application deadline is May 17.
Employers participating in the program will provide work experience and mentoring to the student working at their host site, and will interview and select the student who will be placed at their facility.
Employers interested in being a host site should contact Valerie Hanson (262) 638-6603 or email@example.com at the Racine County Workforce Development Center.
April 23, 2013
From reliableplant.com: “Welding Boot Camp creates skilled workers” – There’s a boot camp taking place in Fond du Lac, Wis. – one that doesn’t require boot shining, marching and bivouacs, though you do have to wear a helmet and other gear and follow instructions.
This particular group of “recruits” is firing welding torches. Along with Brenner Tank LLC of Fond du Lac, Moraine Park Technical College developed a Welding Boot Camp to train individuals for entry-level work in the welding profession. The first eight-week camp began June 18 and ran through August 15; a second seven-week round will start in September. All participants earn four college credits that articulate into Moraine Park’s welding program.
“Brenner Tank formed the partnership with Moraine Park in an effort to maintain our competitive edge,” said Dawn Marie Polakoski, PHR, Brenner Tank’s human resources manager. “ Moraine Park’s custom training program is providing the skilled welders we need to support our continued growth. As a local manufacturer, we are very pleased with the creation of the Welding Boot Camp.”
While built in conjunction with Brenner Tank, the program was designed with the broader purpose of helping manufacturers address a serious shortage of skilled welders and is open to any manufacturing employer who may have similar workforce development needs. The program works to connect energetic, dedicated individuals with a sincere interest in a welding career with employers by helping those individuals develop the foundational skills needed to be successful. Ten candidates were selected by Brenner Tank for the first boot camp. Their ages varied but their passion for welding is the same.
Sara Buechel, 18, of New Holstein, Wis., applied because she enjoys welding and wanted to get further education in the profession. Joel Grier of Fond du Lac, also 18, also wanted to learn more about welding and be able to get a good job. Daniel O’Connor, 36, of Fond du Lac sees the Welding Boot Camp as an opportunity to better himself and have a shot at a new career move. And, the camp is a chance to expand job opportunities at Brenner for Forrest Brunet, 42, of North Fond du Lac.
Brenner Tank interns are paid to train three days per week at the welding lab on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus under the instruction of adjunct faculty member Jonathan Thill. For the remaining two days of the week, they work at Brenner, where they apply the skills they learn in the classroom. Tuition is employer-paid. The Brenner Tank interns who successfully complete the program are given priority consideration for a permanent position with Brenner.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Brenner Tank,” said Kathy Schlieve, Moraine Park economic and workforce development sales representative. “They have been instrumental in helping Moraine Park develop this program and are actively working with area high schools to educate students about career opportunities in manufacturing. Welding interns who successfully complete the boot camp are filling open or new positions and are earning a better wage. Moraine Park’s goal is to provide the type of rapid response that companies need to develop and maintain a competitive advantage and grow their business, and the Welding Boot Camp delivers on that goal.”
Polakoski concurs, “This program is a win-win that meets our needs as an employer but also helps the individuals being trained to begin earning a good wage while developing lifelong career skills that they can build on for future career advancement.”
With additional training, the opportunities that exist for these individuals abound.
“Manufacturing has become very high-tech and offers a variety of career opportunities,” said Marcia Arndt, Moraine Park dean of manufacturing technology. “The future workforce has to be technologically savvy to handle the competitive climate of the global market. In addition to technical skills, employers are looking for people who can problem-solve, work in teams and adapt to change quickly. Moraine Park’s manufacturing program helps individuals develop these skills for future success.”
For more information about upcoming welding boot camps in Fond du Lac, call Moraine Park at 920-924-3449 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 12, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Governor’s manufacturing message resonates at Gateway” – STURTEVANT — As Gov. Scott Walker shook hands around the room at Gateway Technical College’s SC Johnson iMET Center Thursday, Brandon Dear pressed a small metal disc into the governor’s hands.
“It was kind of a token of appreciation,” explained Dear — a welding circle with the technical college’s name and Walker’s initials stamped into the metal.
Walker spoke Thursday at the iMET, or Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Center as part of his Forward Manufacturing Tour, a statewide speaking circuit designed to connect with manufacturers and reinforce the value of the evolving industry to Wisconsin’s economy.
Dear, 24, was one of several Gateway students in attendance, along with local officials, business owners and state leaders who braved the rain to reach the center at 2320 Renaissance Blvd. in Sturtevant.
The governor reinforced positions from his state budget, including closing the skills gap through job training, and starting career tracks and workforce development training earlier. He talked about expanding exports to China, something the governor’s upcoming tour to the country is designed to foster.
Walker also summoned his oft-used punching bag to the south to favorably compare Wisconsin’s pension system, business taxes and bond rating to those in Illinois.
Those factors aside, in recent months Illinois’ job growth has actually increased at a faster rate than Wisconsin’s, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently knocked the dairy state to No. 44 in job growth nationally.
Walker announced plans to stimulate those stumbling numbers by convening local business and political leaders near state lines, and “invite hundreds of northeastern Illinois manufacturers to come up and visit us.” The goal, he said, is to show them the state’s positive business climate and incentivizing tax credit, ideally luring businesses across state lines.
To Dear, those promises are personal. Gaining skills means getting a job, he said, and getting a job means providing for his family, including a three-year-old daughter.
Although he was more or less ambivalent on the governor’s specific proposals, Walker’s core idea really resonated with Dear: “We do need a lot more jobs,” he said. “We need skills to get a job that supports our families. (Gateway) gives us those skills.”
From prweb.com: “Growing Weld Fixture Design and Build Company Takes Part in Efforts to Close Manufacturing Skills Gap in Wisconsin” – On March 13, 2013 Governor Scott Walker signed the bill known as “Wisconsin Fast Forward”. This bill is designed to address the skills shortage in the state’s manufacturing workforce and will better link employers and job seekers. This bill will allow Rentapen Inc., a weld fixture tooling company to hire skilled workers with the right education.
Rentapen Inc., a Machine Tool Design Company and Manufacturer of precision metal shims is just one of several manufactures helping with the effort to get the word out that jobs in manufacturing provide job security and require extensive skills. According to manufacturers, there is a large disconnect in Wisconsin between the workforce and the number of skilled workers ready to fill positions.
According to the panel of speakers at the New Faces of Manufacturing Summit hosted by Waukesha County Business Alliance, 68% of manufacturers reported a lack of talent or skills in the manufacturing industry. High school students and college freshman, who have not determined a major, do not think about manufacturing. When they do think of manufacturing, they think of it as dirty and made up of people who are low income and lower skilled.
Rentapen Inc. has been a member of the Waukesha County Business Alliance for almost two years and has been affected first hand by the skills gap. Recently, Rentapen Inc. has joined the “Dream It Do It” Marketing Action Team. This action team is made up of individuals around South-Eastern Wisconsin, and is dedicated to lessening the skills gap.
Rentapen Inc. has found that some of the most skilled workers are graduating from technical colleges. Rentapen has hired over 5 individuals from Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) alone; these students have started as interns and have excelled and been retained.
“It’s exciting to be in manufacturing right now. We are in a busy and growing industry. Finding, training, and maintaining good talent is key to being competitive in the global marketplace,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen. “We are pleased to have the support of the College, and the State in helping manufacturers succeed in Wisconsin.”
The second part of the bill that Governor Walker signed creates a workforce training grant program at the Department of Workforce Development. This grant program will be used to leverage additional private dollars to help both new and current employees to acquire additional job trainings skills. The bill, coined “Wisconsin Fast Forward,” creates a website that uses real-time job data to match employers and potential workers, provides $15 million in state funds for worker training grants and creates an Office of Skills Development within the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to help provide specific training for employers who need workers with specific skills.
Rentapen Inc. and many other manufacturing companies are struggling to find skilled workers to fill a variety of positions because the education that people are getting does not fit the skills needed in the actual working environment. Individuals are taking courses to receive a 4-year diploma but are not attaining the correct skills needed to excel in the work place.
“One problem is, parents and adults are pushing students to get degrees in subjects that do not necessarily prepare them for jobs that actually exist in the market,” said Nicole Thies, Marketing Coordinator. “There is a large amount of history majors, political scientists and lawyers than is needed in the workforce. At the same time, the average high schools do not have a manufacturing class or a program designed to teach about a CNC operator. There is also need for machinists and welders; these courses are not offered or encouraged in a lot of high schools throughout the state and the nation.”
Manufacturing is one of the fastest growing industries like nursing, retail and food service. The manufacturing sector is aging. Within the next five years a new generation of workers will need to have the skills and experience to take over for the generation that is leaving. Companies are trying to deal with the hundreds of years of experience that will be walking out the door in the next five to ten years. There may not be thousands of new jobs, but there will be thousands of openings, and Wisconsin does not have the skill sets to fill in.
April 5, 2013
From kwwl.com: “Eastern Iowa manufacturing jobs ripe for the taking” – Eastern Iowa’s manufacturing industry has so many open positions, companies can’t fill them quickly enough.
That has prompted Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) in Peosta to team up with Southwestern Wisconsin Technical College. The two created the Tri-State Advanced Manufacturing Center for Excellence. It will help train and pair skilled workers with the abundance of manufacturing jobs available locally.
This week, NICC announced the appointment of the center’s director, Randy Schofield, who is currently an advanced manufacturing instructor at NICC’s Peosta campus.
He said there are hundreds of jobs available in the Dubuque area right now, and they pay well.
“We have 21-, 22-year-old people out there in the workforce that went through a one-year program that are making $50,000 or $60,000 a year,” Schofield said.
It was the job availability that drew student Titus Fair to NICC’s advanced manufacturing program. After an injury in Iraq sent the former Marine back to Iowa, Fair first enrolled in NICC’s heating and air conditioning program.
“I looked for a job for six months, and I was unsuccessful in finding a job,” Fair said, “so I decided to come back and go to the CNC program.”
Fair returned to NICC’s Peosta campus to gain advanced manufacturing skills and train as a computer numerical control (CNC) machinist technician.
“The manufacturing and CNC jobs are booming in this area right now,” Fair said.
Schofield said the advanced manufacturing jobs available right now include “welders and machinists and engineers and all throughout manufacturing, really.”
He said the high job availability has to do with an aging existing workforce.
“A lot of the machinists and the welders and the manufacturing people are getting older, and there is work coming back from countries,” he said. “When I first started out, we worked for companies that sent work over to other countries, and now some of that work is coming back.”
Fair and Schofield both said these are good jobs with benefits.
In exploring different opportunities, Schofield said he found jobs that offered, “anywhere from $38,000 to $60,000 that first year on the job, so it’s pretty good.”
For Fair, it’s now a matter of swimming in opportunities.
“Right now, it’s such a high demand for CNC. I recommend this to anybody looking for a job,” he said.
Fair said he’s now deciding between two job offers.
March 21, 2013
From wsaw.com: “8 Wis. Technical Colleges awarded funds for laser equipment” – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson says eight Wisconsin Technical College System schools will be awarded nearly $105,000 to to purchase precision laser alignment tools to help train apprentices in manufacturing and address the skills gap.
“The funding is another example of our continuing efforts to equip workers with the latest skills, empowering them for employment in family supporting jobs,” Secretary Newson said. “With the grants, our workforce partners in the technical colleges can purchase high tech, laser equipment to train apprentices for good jobs in the skilled trades.”
Grants of $13,100 each are being awarded to Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids, North Central Technical College in Wausau, Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Waukesha Technical College, and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
The U.S. Department of Labor funds will go to purchase precision laser alignment tools for rotating machinery. Precision laser alignment is a common testing procedure in maintaining manufacturing equipment and ensuring production efficiency. The colleges will use the equipment to train apprentices in training for occupations as machine repairer, maintenance mechanic, millwright and pipefitter.
March 13, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Manpower survey says manufacturing expected to see boost in hiring” – A Manpower survey released Tuesday, March 12th named Wisconsin one of the best states to find a career with growth — particularly in the Milwaukee area.
The jobs report was encouraging for Lawrence Heyn, who was excited to hear manufacturing is one of the few industries expected to see a boost in hiring. It is one of several trades named in the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey.
Jorge Perez is the Senior Vice President of Manpower. The organization asks companies about their hiring intentions. The latest survey found companies intend to hire.
“It`s going to be in construction, transportation and logistics, so those are some of the industries are going up. Second quarter of 2013 has a positive trend across the U.S. 11% of the companies net number based on the survey they say they will increase their workforce in the next three months,” Perez said.
Perez says the numbers are much better than the first quarter and second quarter of last year, which hopefully means a steady upswing since the recession.
“Against the nation number the hiring intentions are 18% for the state of Wisconsin and same for the city of Milwaukee which are pretty positive,” Perez said.
The challenge may be finding the right talent for the openings. Kathleen Hohl says that’s where Milwaukee Area Technical College comes in.
“One of the most important things we do is work with representatives of manufacturing and construction companies in the area to learn what careers are going to have openings so we can appropriately educate and train our students so they are job ready when they graduate from MATC,” Hohl said.
The students learn manufacturing skills, combined with the latest skills in technology.
The poll of 18,000 employers was done before sequestration took effect. Perez believes the upward trend will continue, but of course, he’s not sure how sequestration will have an impact.
That will be reflected in the third quarter report, which comes out in June.
March 12, 2013
From digitaljournal.com: “Weld Fixture Tooling Company Filled a CAD Drafter Internship Position” – On January 29, 2013 Rentapen Inc., an area product holding fixture company, filled a CAD Drafter Internship position with a young and experienced student from Waukesha County Technical College. He is joining a CAD Drafting team made up of men and women of all ages. Christopher Doll has been a part of Rentapen Inc.’s, team since 2005 and is the Engineering Lead Designer and has a Masters of Science in Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
According to The Social Liberian, “There are eight different age generation categories.” Rentapen Inc., the Weld Fixture Specialist, is currently employing four different age generations. This local Waukesha, WI, company is employing generations as young as Generation Y (Born: 1977-1994) and as experienced as the Baby Boomer I Generation (Born: 1946-1954)
Rentapen Inc., has been in business since August 20, 1976 and has been able to stay in business through many different generations, but there is one key piece that holds this company together; they are accepting of all ages and are willing to teach their employees. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” in the case with Rentapen Inc. you can. Every day the younger and older generations work side by side to reach a common goal: to build, design, and create the best weld fixture components in the manufacturing industry.
“I am in the Baby-Boom Generation and I am learning new things from the other team members all the time,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen. “Just last week our staff was teaching me about our website and social media.”
There are many conflicts in the manufacturing industry when it comes to generation differences. Like any business today, conflicts can come from recruiting, building teams, the many different changes in a company, and different styles of management. However, Rentapen Inc., is embracing the generations and changes; in their industry change is a good thing because it allows for growth, efficiencies, and cost savings.
The weld fixture specialist is excited for the growth of their line of RAPid Tooling Components™. With the different generations working together there has been an increase in the orders for RAPid Shims™ and the CAD Drafters in the office are busier than ever.
Rentapen Inc., is a Waukesha, Wisconsin based company that provides Weld Fixtures and 3D CAD models to manufacturers. Since 1976, Rentapen Inc has consistently saved customers time and money. Rentapen Inc., is a Certified Woman Owned Business and owns RAPid Tooling Components™.
From hrtnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College unveils the new Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab” – Lakeshore Technical College unveils the new Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab, which offers area high schools a chance to provide hands-on training on 21st century manufacturing equipment. It also will be used for incumbent worker training. The 44-foot lab on wheels includes CNC (computer numerical control) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) equipment and 13 computer stations. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson attended the event held at the Cleveland campus on Tuesday.
March 6, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “Gateway Technical College schedules referendum for $49M in capital spending” – A referendum on $49 million in capital projects for Gateway Technical College has been scheduled for April 2, according to public documents.
The initial resolution for the proposed spending in the three counties Gateway serves — Kenosha, Racine and Walworth — was adopted by the Gateway Technical College District Board in January.
College district leaders have proposed issuing general obligation bonds or promissory notes to cover the cost of the projects, according to the election notice published Tuesday.
The projects include $13.6 million to renovate and expand Gateway’s Elkhorn campus to accommodate program enhancements, including expanding that site’s welding lab and building a new CNC automated manufacturing lab, a veterinary technician lab, a cosmetology lab and a culinary arts lab, Gateway has said.
The largest project in the proposal is a $15.6 million plan to build a public safety and training center that would serve all Gateway campuses.
The plans also call for building a new Fresh Water Resources lab and other renovations at Gateway’s Racine campus for $2.5 million.
Other proposed projects include expanding and renovating the Kenosha campus Student Services Center and general infrastructure and energy efficiency upgrades.
March 4, 2013
From ehextra.com: “NWTC to expand manufacturing education” — MARINETTE – The collaborative program between Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Marinette Marine to train shipyard workers is going well.
So well, NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn, told the Marinette County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, that NWTC hopes to acquire the entire building on Main Street that houses the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center.
“This is booming area up here in Marinette and with everything going on at Marinette Marine, we’ve made the investment in building a marine shipbuilding and manufacturing training center,” he said. “We are the primary trainer of the workers at Marinette and we continue to work with them as they go out to bid for additional ships to increase the amount of work they have.
“Right now, we own part of the building and we are prepared to buy the rest of it when it becomes available. I expect the manufacturing education we provide in Marinette County to expand.”
Since the 15,595-square-foot center opened in January of 2012, NWTC has provided 7,392 classroom hours of training and 59,196 total person hours of training, according to a report provided to the county board.
The center includes two smart classrooms, welding, marine electrical and pipefitting and shipfitting labs, a small classroom and a lounge, faculty offices and conference room.
Supervisor Ted Suave asked Rafn if there is a duplication of training at the center and NWTC-Marinette.
“It is an expansion of services,” replied Rafn. “We just did not have enough space at the campus. The program on the Marinette campus pretty much just focused on machining and welding.
“We really need to train people to be shipfitters, in electrical work in shipbuilding, welding and pipefitting. These are the areas for the most part that we did not really have at the Marinette campus and certainly not tot he size we needed them.”
Rafn said NWTC has a $1.8 million contract with Marinette Marine to train its workers and has created two degrees in shipbuilding – marine ship construction and marine ship engineering.
“We also do all the initial screening of employees they hire and we do the initial safety training for them as well,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership that I expect to continue for the long term.”
Rafn said NWTC plans to move more manufacturing-related training to the center.
“A lot of what goes on in building ships also goes on in manufacturing,” he explained. “So I expect that we’ll see a lot more electromechanic work in there.”
Another highlight of Rafn’s address to the county board was how NWTC workers have been affected by Act 10, which became law in 2011 and took away the collective bargaining rights of non-protective public employees.
“I am extremely proud of the way NWTC handled this,” Rafn said. “We’ve made some significant changes and we are still in the process of making additional changes.
“We’re actually moving from a compensation structure that focused on years of service and what degrees you hold to one that’s focused entirely on performance. We’ve dona market analysis of every single position we have and have simplified the compensation structure.”
Rafn said he sympathizes with employees, who have had to make sacrifices, including paying more for their health insurance.
“It’s a huge cultural change for people who have had pay increases determined on the basis of years of service and education,” he said. “It can create and does create a lot of anxiety.
“We have eliminated seniority as a criteria to gain promotion or a different job. Our employees have stood by us the whole way. They have still remained focused on the No. 1 thing – the success of our students.”
“We can be proud of our faculty,” said Laurie Davidson, who represents Marinette County on the NWTC District Board and who accompanied Rafn to Tuesdays’ meeting. “Despite the union thing they have stuck with us.
“They are accepting change gracefully. They are working with us and their attitudes have been great.”
Davidson thanked the county board for appointing her to be an NWTC trustee, the first time in 1991.
She said she is proud to be affiliated with NWTC, which Rafn earlier said has more than 7,300 full-time students and serves about 45,000 people every year.
He said for the last two years NWTC has been rated in the top two percent of community colleges in the nation in terms of student success and predicted “one of these days we’re going to be No. 1.”
“Education really does change people’s lives, it changes their economics, it changes their self-esteem and their job satisfaction,” Davidson said. “I could go on and on. It’s really been a privilege to watch all of this work with education professionals.”
February 27, 2013
From madison.com: “On Campus: Blackhawk Technical College eyes new manufacturing training site” – Students hoping to learn advanced manufacturing could soon get another new facility in the region. Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville recently approved plans to open a 105,000-square-foot industrial facility in Milton by the fall semester in 2014.
It would piggyback on a new advanced manufacturing training center at Madison Area Technical College that was approved in a 2010 building referendum and is slated to open later this year.
Blackhawk’s District Board approved plans for the college to lease the facility and convert it into a training ground for five of the college’s programs initially with four more moving there in the future.
The initial wave of programs in the new facility include precision machining, industrial maintenance, electromechanical technology, welding and metal fabrication. The next wave would include computer systems technology, industrial engineering, mechanical design technology and HVAC.
“The face of manufacturing is changing radically, and the need for highly trained technicians has never been more acute,” said Tom Eckert, Blackhawk president, in a statement. The new training facility “will provide us some much-needed space and at the same time help address the workforce gap.”
The lease will cost $155,125 in the first year at $1.48 a square foot. In the second year the rate increases to $2.88 a square foot with annual increases limited to 2 percent after that, Eckert said.
The plan must still be approved by the state technical college system board.
February 25, 2013
From beloitdailynews.com: “Blackhawk programs moving to Milton site” – Eight advanced manufacturing programs at Blackhawk Technical College will move into a new building in Milton, Wis.
The BTC board unanimously approved leasing out a vacant building at 15 N. Plumb St. in Milton during its Thursday night meeting. The lease would be for 10 years along with two five-year renewals for the 105,100-square-foot building, said BTC President Tom Eckert.
Before the lease can be signed the Wisconsin Technical College System Board has to approve of the project. Eckert said he believes that will happen in March or April.
If approved, the college would pay $155,125 in the first year of the lease, or about $1.47 per square foot. In the second year the rate increases to $2.88 per square foot and an annual cost of about $302,688. Further increases are limited to 2 percent per year.
Four of the eight programs including welding, industrial maintenance, electro-mechanical technology and precision machining will move into the building at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
The other four — heating, ventilation, air conditioning/refrigeration technician, mechanical design technology, industrial engineering technician and computer systems technology — will move the following year.
The building, while in “excellent condition” will still need about $10 million of renovations in order for it to be suitable for the classroom, Eckert said.
“That will be over a number of years,” he said. “We’ll be taking the inside and making it ready and bringing it to a quality level that reflects the college’s brand and what it wants to look like as educational facility.”
Primary funding for the renovations will be done through bonds.
Eckert said the classrooms would need to be built and the production areas will be renovated into training labs.
“We will make it clean and bright and make it reflect modern manufacturing with state-of-the are equipment,” he said.
BTC has been working with Madison-based Plunkett Raysich Architects on the design of the new facility.
Increased demand for manufacturing jobs caused the college too look for a building to house an advanced manufacturing training center. Plans were being talked about initially with the Iron Works complex in downtown Beloit as a potential site for the facility.
However, the costs of the renovations and annual lease were too high for the college to afford, Eckert said.
In December Eckert told the Daily News that the college was looking at property off of Madison Avenue in Milton. He confirmed Friday that this was the land the college was looking at.
Requests for proposals were sent out in the fall after the college decided not to locate the facility at the Iron Works building in Beloit.
Five proposals were sent in and three didn’t meet the minimum requirements the college was looking at.
“The Milton site came out on top as a site we felt met all of our needs,” Eckert said.
Demand for manufacturing jobs has increased significantly over the last few years. As the Baby Boom generation is retiring more jobs in welding and industrial engineers are needed in the workforce.
Gary Kohn, BTC marketing and communications manager, said the current programs are equipped to handle 170 students, but 299 qualified applications were received.
Once the programs are moved the space they occupied will be renovated to expand other programs including nursing, business classes and the college’s Information Technology department, Eckert said.
February 22, 2013
From gazettextra.com: “BTC board approves training facility in Milton” – TOWN OF ROCK–More students will acquire skills to fill an expanding manufacturing workforce in southern Wisconsin if Blackhawk Technical College’s new venture succeeds as officials hope.
The college’s district board voted unanimously Thursday to lease a vacant manufacturing building in Milton and convert it into an “advanced manufacturing training center.”
The college will move its manufacturing programs to the new center, which is scheduled to open for the fall semester in 2014.
The lease will cost $155,125 per year for 10 years, with options for two five-year extensions and the option to buy at any time, said college President Tom Eckert.
The district plans to borrow $4.21 million to renovate and furnish the 105,100-square-foot building at 15 N. Plumb St. in Milton.
The Janesville Transit System bus that already stops in Milton will include a stop at the center, said Renea Ranguette, vice president for finance and operations.
With staff, utilities, maintenance and associated costs, the center would cost an estimated $528,725 a year to operate, according to a memo prepared for the board. Tuition and fees would cover $370,350 of that cost, for a net increase of $158,375 to the college’s operating costs.
The Wisconsin Technical College System Board still needs to approve the lease for the project to go forward.