Lakeshore Technical College building expansion begins

September 6, 2013

From “Lakeshore Technical College building expansion begins” — CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College’s building expansion and renovation project, announced in late April, began when ground was broken on July 25. By expanding the college’s Flexible Training Arena and renovating the Trade and Industry building on the Cleveland campus, LTC will help fill local manufacturers’ pressing need for welders, machine tool and industrial maintenance workers while alleviating waiting lists, according to a news release from LTC.

The project will be completed in two phases, the first of which is expanding the 18,000-square-foot Flexible Training Arena to 32,400 square feet. Remodeling of the Trade and Industry building will begin in January. The project will allow for more graduates, and updated equipment will train workers with the machining, welding and robotic skills that manufacturers need.

“Thanks to the support of local business and individuals, we’ve been successful in raising enough private funds to break ground,” LTC President Michael Lanser said in the news release. “Our first additional class will graduate and be employment ready by August 2014.”

Nearly $900,000 has been raised thus far as part of the first capital campaign in the college’s 100-year history. LTC hopes to raise $2.1 million in private funds to help offset the $6.1 million project, and it now will broaden its reach to local communities for support.

“By collaborating with local business and philanthropic organizations to help fund the project, we are able to reduce public funding to the point of not requiring a referendum,” Lanser said. “It allows us to address our local manufacturers’ employment needs more quickly.”

A recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department shows Wisconsin ranks second among all states in manufacturing earnings. Manitowoc County derives 29 percent of all earnings from manufacturing. According to a report prepared for Gov. Scott Walker by former Bucyrus Erie CEO Tim Sullivan, the manufacturing worker shortage will reach a critical stage in 2018 as Wisconsin must fill 925,000 jobs, many of them in the skilled trade area, due to growth and baby boomer retirements. In the Lakeshore area alone, an annual average of 293 openings exists for machinists, welders, millwrights, industrial and maintenance mechanics, electricians and electromechanical workers.

LTC currently has capacity to provide an average of fewer than 100 graduates for those positions, and the lack of facilities further limits LTC’s ability to address the incumbent worker training needs of local manufacturers and creates waiting lists that thwart student interest, the news release states.

“We know that 87 percent of LTC grads live and work in the Lakeshore area,” Lanser said. “Our local manufacturers will benefit from that, and the family-supporting wages they pay to our first group of graduates will add nearly $9.5 million to the local economy in just five years. It may also attract new employers looking for a skilled workforce. It’s a great value.”


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