July 24, 2014
From fdlreporter.com: “Moraine Park gets $1.2 million state grant” — An additional 126 students will be able to attend Moraine Park Technical College programs designed to fill high-demand career fields.
MPTC received a $1,217,997 grant Wednesday under the Wisconsin Fast Forward: Blueprint for Prosperity Initiative to train students to fill what employers say is a growing job gap.
Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson made a stop at the Fond du Lac MPTC campus Wednesday to announce the local portion of the grant.
“This is an incredible, bipartisan effort,” Kleefisch said. “At any given time there are between 45,000 and 70,000 open jobs in the state because they need more skilled workers.”
State Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac, said he helped pass the legislation and was in attendance along with State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-Campbellsport, and County Executive Allen Buechel.
“It’s good to see this program working and I knew that it would work,” Gudex said, stating he saw the need through his years working in the field of economic development.
Technical colleges submitted initial lists of programs for grant consideration earlier this year.There is a waiting list to get into several programs at MPTC, said Joann Hall, Dean of Economic Workforce Development. The grant will funnel money into high-demand areas such as mechatronics, medical coding, tool and die apprenticeships, and CNC training offered from a mobile unit to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
It will also provide short-term training for industrial maintenance, robotic welding, automation and general production assembly.
“These are the fields employers are telling us they can’t find people for,” Hall said.
The grant will be used to provide more faculty, facilities, equipment, supplies and curriculum development, she said.
“We know the integral role Moraine Park Technical College and all of Wisconsin’s technical colleges play in keeping Wisconsin’s economy strong,” said MPTC President Sheila Ruhland. “Our training gets workers into the workforce quickly and keeps them in the workforce, ensuring we will continue to keep moving Wisconsin forward.”
Representatives from grant partners Aurora Heath Care and Mercury Marine were also in attendance as the group toured MPTC’s integrated manufacturing center. Both Fond du Lac businesses helped the college frame some of the programs and wrote letters of support to help obtain funding.
The legislation provided more than $35 million in additional funding for all 16 technical colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System to help train nearly 5,000 people.
The awards are part of Gov. Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity initiative to move Wisconsin’s working families along a path toward greater prosperity and independence, according to a news release from Kleefisch’s office.
“The investment we are making in Moraine Park Technical College under Gov. Walker’s leadership will enhance opportunities for working families in the Fond du Lac region and help employers find the workers they need,” Kleefisch said.
The DWD will administer the grants, which will add capacity to 100 programs in key industry sectors such as manufacturing, health care, transportation, construction and architecture, and education.
“With this announcement, the State of Wisconsin is giving workers the chance to increase their skills and move into a new job or a better job,” Newson said.
Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training programs will focus on three areas:
- Reduction of waiting lists at Wisconsin technical colleges for high-demand fields.
- Collaborative projects between high schools, technical colleges, businesses, and other partners to increase opportunities for high school students to earn industry-recognized credentials.
- Enhancing the employment opportunities of workers with disabilities.
Walker signed 2013 Act 139 into law in March as part of the initiative following strong bipartisan support of the State Legislature. In May, DWD awarded more than $2.1 million in grants to train high school students in school-to-work programs and is currently seeking grant applications with up to $1 million available to train workers with disabilities.
Funds cannot be used for financial aid, tuition or capital improvements.