Blackhawk Tech’s Milton facility on track

June 27, 2013

From hngnews.com: “Blackhawk Tech’s Milton facility on track” — “I think we’re on a good roll.”

Blackhawk Technical College President Tom Eckert was upbeat on June 19 as he talked about the college’s plans to open a new manufacturing education center in Milton.

He appeared at the Milton Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly general membership meeting in Newville to give a presentation on the proposed BTC Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.

The Wisconsin Technical College Board in March gave approval for Blackhawk to lease the former Burdick/ANGI Energy System building at 15 Plumb St. to serve as the new facility. Eckert said last week the lease on the property had been secured and engineers were beginning to look at the building to evaluate needs.

The Milton Plan Commission will also hold a public hearing on July 9 at 5 p.m. to consider a conditional use permit (CUP) request for the facility. The meeting will be held in the City Council chambers at 430 E. High St.

Eckert said he anticipates the college’s big manufacturing programs – precision machining (CNC), industrial maintenance, electromechanical technology, welding and metal fabrication – to begin classes in the new facility in the fall of 2014. The remaining manufacturing programs would relocate to Milton in the fall of 2015.

He said modern manufacturing is “no longer dirty and dark” and manufacturers are using more automation. The manufacturers are in need of employees who can master the new technology.

“It’s good for our economy to make things,” he said, touting the importance of keeping manufacturing in the United States.

The Advanced Manufacturing Training Center will be designed to allow more cross-training, creating well-rounded graduates, Eckert said. There will be double the number of welding booths compared to current setup at the central campus in Janesville and more space to take on bigger projects.

Eckert said the “capstone” project for students will be to create a manufacturing line that makes a product.

Moving the manufacturing program to Milton will also free up much-needed space at the central campus for other programs.

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