State grant will expand popular programs at Gateway Tech
July 25, 2014
From journaltimes.com: “State money expands popular Gateway programs” — By Mark Schaaf – STURTEVANT — Some of Gateway Technical College’s most in-demand programs will be expanded after the state allocated nearly $1.9 million in worker-training money to the college.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on Wednesday visited the SC Johnson iMet Center, 2320 Renaissance Blvd., to announce the grant, which officials said will trim waiting lists and allow Gateway to serve an additional 756 students over the next two years.
Beginning in the fall semester, Gateway will expand 14 popular programs, such as its CNC bootcamps, welding and business management offerings.
Gateway also will offer additional law enforcement summer classes and expand its summer nursing classes to meet demand.
Gateway has waiting lists for several courses because it can’t create enough sections or hire enough teachers to meet the demand, Gateway President Bryan Albrecht said. The grant “allows people to have greater access to education and get them back into the workforce,” he said.
The money originated from a $911 million state surplus. Gov. Scott Walker and the state Legislature geared most of the surplus toward tax cuts, but about $35 million went into a worker-training program called Wisconsin Fast Forward.
Kleefisch said the state has added more than 100,000 jobs over the past four years, but many people are still looking for work at the same time employers face challenges finding skilled workers.
“We need to bridge that skills gap so the folks who are seeking jobs have the skills to take the (jobs) that are already open,” Kleefisch said.
State Sen. John Lehman, who along with other local legislators attended Wednesday’s announcement, said Democrats also favored money for worker training. The grants are a “move in the right direction” in terms of Walker’s job policies, he said.
“This kind of grant actually translates into helping individuals, translates into helping the Racine-Kenosha-Walworth county” region that Gateway serves, said Lehman, D-Racine, who is running for lieutenant governor.
Kleefisch has held similar events at technical colleges around the state this week after Walker announced $28 million in worker-training grants. The Department of Workforce Development, which will administer the grants, will add capacity to 100 programs at all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges and accommodate up to 4,908 additional students, according to a news release.