From “Welding boot camp preps new workers” — FOND DU LAC – If you’re looking for work or a career change Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac might have the job for you.

That is, if you’re willing to go through boot camp.

The college is offering an intense, 10-week training program for already available manufacturing jobs.

Students will learn the basics of welding and other machine work businesses say could lead to one of those jobs.

It starts with welding 101 and then some at Moraine Park Technical College.

“When I first started I thought you just welded two pieces of metal together and that was basically what you did,” said Chad Krebsbach of Green Lake.

But as Krebsbach quickly found out, welding jobs today require much more skill.

“I wanted to get better in stainless steel welding and TIG welding and I accomplished that I think.”

It’s that kind of success story that led Moraine Park Technical College to seek $1.3 million in grant money to create two separate boot camp programs in high demand manufacturing jobs. A 10-week training program in welding or a 15-week program in CNC machining.

“It will get them basic entry level skills to get them into these manufacturers so they can continue to gain wages and have jobs and then hopefully come back and finish their degree,” said JoAnn Hall, dean of workforce and economic development at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac.

For companies like Brenner Tank in Fond du Lac the program helps them find skilled workers with the specific training they are looking for.

“There is a huge skills gap and we need to get that message out that there are good jobs paying jobs available in the manufacturing community and this is just another way to make that happen,” said Dave Hodorff, vice president of operations for Brenner.

Roughly a dozen local companies are partnering with the school with the expectation of hiring the boot camp grads. Many will need further training, but school officials say the boot camp is a way for them to get their foot in the door for in-demand jobs.

“Almost all of the employers we are working with provide tuition reimbursement, they are committed to the long-term growth of their staff, but they need people in and doing these jobs so they can service their customers,” said Hall.

Sparking interest in a new generation of manufacturing workers.

The first boot camp is already underway and a second will begin in February. The school says it can churn out 90 students a year under the three year grant program.

The school is holding two informational sessions about the boot camps next week.

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