Collaboration results in new training solution for Wausau region

May 5, 2014

From wausaudailyherald.com: “Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin seeks Wausau-area participants for training” — By Jorge Franco — The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is emerging this spring with a new-generation training solution to address the growing skilled worker shortage in the Wausau region.

The HCCW Partnership is a collaboration including the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturing Alliance, chaired by John Peterson of Schuette Metals and co-chaired by Kathy Drengal of Greenheck Fan Corp. The alliance also includes Northcentral Technical College, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and the outstanding leadership of Miller Electric Manufacturing Company. The HCCW training initiative is made possible under Gov. Scott Walker’s Fast Forward skills development program and the ITW Foundation. We’ve received national recognition and substantial funding from the American Welding Society.

This initiative is an employer-driven and mentor-based anti-poverty solution that connects Wausau’s unemployed and under-employed workers with accredited welding skills development and training at no cost to trainees. It is designed to fill existing higher paying job vacancies to the benefit of everyone including the state and local economies.

According to Competitive Wisconsin Inc.’s “Be Bold 2” study by ManpowerGroup, the unmet demand for metal workers, including welders, is expected to reach 7,101 by 2016. To the extent these positions are to remain unfilled, the HCCW estimates that state and local government lost revenues could amount to more than $265 million in lost income, sales and property tax revenues over a 10-year job lifecycle.

This program offers a pathway to a higher-paying career in welding at an accelerated pace. The median starting pay for skilled welding positions is $35,450 a year. The program is a paid training that takes 14 to 16 weeks to complete. Participants are immediately job-eligible upon completion with lifelong learning and earning skills. This program is followed by ongoing HCCW support programming and on-the-job training to continue workplace advancement.

In the Wausau region alone, more than 200 welder graduates of this program are in high demand based on a recent five-day sign-up period offered to manufacturers by the HCCW.

The initiative distinguishes itself from traditional skills training by including essential life skills training for participants, including time management and punctuality, critical thinking and problem solving, financial access to lifeline financial services along with financial education and communication skills development among other topics. It is designed to supply workforce-ready candidates who are able to step into entry-level welding positions. Participants will complete essential life skills training in a support group setting before they advance to the employer-approved customized welder training course provided by Northcentral Technical College.

This initiative facilitates upward economic mobility for trainees and at the same time provides skilled workers in order to help keep manufacturers strong in the Wausau region. People of any ethnicity can participate; the program is open to any resident in the Wausau region. The HCCW is now recruiting training initiative participants and is excited to be a part of the Wausau community.

If you’re interested in participating as a training candidate or a manufacturer, call 1-844-890-5096 or email skillstraining@hccw.org for more information.

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