Grants help technical colleges

December 2, 2013

From “Capitalizing on collaboration through grants” — By Sue Budjac, president Mid-State Technical College – Grant applications are often highly competitive, so a grant award is acknowledgment of the high value and impact of Mid-State Technical College, or MSTC, programs and services.

Grants allow us to capitalize on existing assets, people and sources to improve the quality of an MSTC education. They are also a tribute to the innovative thinking and determined efforts of our employees.

This past year, our college was awarded a total of $1,005,047 in grants, an increase from the $858,788 received during the previous fiscal year and $777,596 three years ago.

Collaboration is an important aspect of the grant process and MSTC’s culture. For example, in partnership with Incourage Community Foundation and our K-12 partners, MSTC recently received one of only 10 national grants from Constellation, a national energy company. This $45,000 award enables MSTC Renewable Energy program faculty to help nearly 200 students from four local high schools to measure the energy efficiency of their school facilities and design a photovoltaic system to be used as a demonstration unit in future classes.

We also regularly collaborate with other Wisconsin technical colleges. The U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded a $23.1 million grant to Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges to address emerging needs in the Information Technology sector, from which MSTC received nearly $900,000 to create an Automation Specialist Advanced Technical Certificate. A similar grant last year provided MSTC with close to $600,000 for a Stainless Steel Welding program at Marshfield Campus.

These cooperative efforts allowed us to leverage $1.5 million to proactively respond to emerging workforce needs.

Grants often enrich the way we maximize our college and community strengths and resources. For instance, the Constellation grant utilizes existing high school facilities as laboratories for hands-on training. As a result, students learn in a real-world environment, fostering a positive learning experience and familiarizing them with the benefits and rigor of higher education.

Each grant is unique in its composition and benefits. Nonetheless, there are many common themes. Our strategy is to acquire grants that are meaningful for the work we do in the region. Grants enable us to stretch our resources and reduce pressure on our operational budget while enhancing the quality of an MSTC education, ultimately reinforcing student success.

I want to acknowledge the continuing efforts of MSTC employees and our local partners who bring grants to the college and central Wisconsin. These grants are an affirmation of our ability to creatively engage local school districts, community organizations and businesses in meaningful partnerships. They also complement our unwavering effort to innovate while making the most of our strengths and opportunities. And, when coupled with our operational resources, they enhance the delivery of in-demand learning experiences and valued student services, increasing the positive impact we have on students.


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