Kestrel and WITC partner for new avionics training

February 13, 2013

From “Kestrel and WITC partner for new avionics training” — Kestrel Aircraft needs skilled workers to build their new plane and the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is stepping in to train them.

Carbon fiber, a high-tech material of cloth and resin, will make up the body of Kestrel’s new plane. The company’s CEO Alan Klapmeier is teaming up with WITC to train students on how to mold it.

“The new program that was announced today is a composites technician program, which is the heart of what we’ll be doing here in building the airplane,” Klapmeier said.

He said the plane will be produced for years to come, and that means long-term jobs in Superior.

“And we want to see that flow of new people going through education, joining the company and continuing to grow with the company,” Klapmeier said.

The new training classes will start in August with 20 students, but the school has long been grooming students for other local jobs like supplying businesses with skilled welders and mechanics.

Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen said WITC’s cooperation with business is invaluable to the city.

“They work closely in partnership with the industries and businesses in town,” Hagen said. “It’s a big attraction for businesses that are here and it’s also a big attraction for businesses that are thinking about coming here.”

Hagen said the program will keep the college and its students up to speed with local business, and maybe even a step ahead.

“They’re ahead of our needs right now; we’re the ones behind. Yeah, they’re keeping up and have just been great partners,” Klapmeier said.

A grant made the program possible for WITC, and school officials said they recently hired their first instructors. The college plans to start training a second group of students in January.



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