From biztimes.com: “DWD awards grants to Gateway and Waukesha County Technical Colleges” — Gateway Technical College has received nearly $1.9 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funding, while Waukesha County Technical College has been allocated close to $1.7 million, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development announced today.

The two technical colleges were awarded portions of a grant initiative totaling more than $28 million that Gov. Scott Walker announced last week.

According to Walker’s announcement, Wisconsin is distributing more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System to train more than 4,900 workers.

That system encompasses 16 schools, including Gateway Technical College in Kenosha and Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.

At Gateway Technical College, grant dollars will support the training of a maximum 756 workers in several “high-demand areas,” the DWD said. Those areas touch disciplines in manufacturing, business management, apprenticeship, education, health care and more.

At Waukesha County Technical College, up to 168 workers will benefit from grant dollars. Workers will be trained for careers in manufacturing, education and human services, and applied science fields.

Transportation, distribution and logistics training will also be covered under the grants.

“These grant dollars will significantly impact the journey of our students pursuing high-demand programs such as welding, computer numerical control (CNC), early childhood education and transportation, and in turn benefit our local economy,” said Kaylen Betzig, interim president of Waukesha County Technical College. “We are pleased and honored that the governor recognizes WCTC’s work as an important and valuable investment.”

From postcrescent.com: “FVTC receives $3.6M state jobs grant to expand classes” — Fox Valley Technical College will use a $3.6 million grant from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program to train workers for high-demand fields including transportation, health care, manufacturing and logistics.

FVTC president Susan May said the money will allow the college to train up to 856 workers with the technical skills needed in today’s regional economy. FVTC will train additional truck drivers, personal care workers, production welders, automation technology workers, operations specialists and phlebotomists.

“Fox Valley Technical College and the Wisconsin Technical College System are incredibly passionate about building skills for careers that are in demand, both locally and around the state,” May said in a statement. “Economic development needs partnerships that are innovative and strategically aligned with the intricacies of a new economy. ”

Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who was at FVTC’s Grand Chute campus Wednesday to award the grant, said the money will help address the skills gap in Wisconsin.

“The investments we are making in Fox Valley Technical College under Gov. Walker’s leadership will enhance opportunities for working families in the Fox Valley region and help employers find the workers they need,” Kleefisch said in a statement.

The money comes from Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, which provided more than $35 million to expand the Department of Workforce Development-operated Wisconsin Fast Forward program. The initiative focuses on reducing the waiting lists at state technical colleges for high-demand fields, increasing opportunities for high school students to earn industry-recognized credentials and enhancing job opportunities for workers with disabilities.

Technical colleges submitted lists of programs for grant consideration earlier this year.

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.

 

From waow.com: “NTC gets two million dollar grant from Governor Walker” — North Central Technical College in Wausau received more than $2 million Friday for its diesel transportation program.

Governor Scott Walker awarded the money to the school. It’s part of the state’s fast forward technical college grants. The grant will also go toward its welding program.

The NTC president says these programs will help students be better prepared for the real world.

“They’re going to have a better quality of life, they’re going to have a strong education, they’re going to have high technical skills in demand and make a very good salary and they’re going to contribute back to their community and to the economic vitality of our region,” said Lori Weyers, NTC’s president.

The school was chosen for the grant through an application. NTC’s president says the grants will help provide a total of 160 jobs.

From wausaudailyherald.com: “The future workforce is here, working” — By Donna Schulz-Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for Northcentral Technical College – If you follow the news, you’ve heard about a shrinking workforce facing employers. As more baby boomers retire each year, employers need to find and develop individuals who will be able to support the growth of their businesses in the years ahead.

These news stories remind me of a public service announcement from television in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s; the question “Do you know where your children are?” was asked during the 10 p.m. news as a reminder to parents that it was important for them to know where their children were and what they were doing. It seems the question employers dealing with an aging workforce are trying to answer is, “Do you know where your future employees are?”

I can tell you part of the answer is that they’re right here in the community, going to high school (taking classes that might surprise you), and trying to find the answer to their own question, “Do you know where your future is?”

This past year, 309 juniors and seniors from 21 high schools within the Northcentral Technical College district were literally working to find the answer to that question for themselves by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program.

YA is a rigorous one- or two-year program that combines mentored, paid, on-the-job learning with academic and technical instruction related to a specific program area. That means students working at a local bank through a finance apprenticeship are studying business, math and financial management; students completing an apprenticeship in manufacturing are perhaps taking welding, machining and manufacturing classes; students working at a healthcare facility may have taken a nursing assistant course at NTC along with medical terminology, biology, anatomy and physiology at their high school.

These students are seeing a real-world connection between their classrooms and the workplace. An exit survey taken by high school seniors who finished their apprenticeships this year provides some thought-provoking data. Of 173 graduating seniors, 151 have plans to attend some type of post-secondary school. While 26 of these students hope to focus only on school, the rest have plans to work while in school. And here’s where it gets really interesting: 85 percent of those 125 students are continuing to work for their YA employer, and 71 percent will be majoring in a field related to their apprenticeship.

Based on these numbers, you can see that some employees of the future are here now, developing relationships with employers who are helping them find their futures. If you would like to learn more about opportunities to hire a youth apprentice, contact the youth apprenticeship coordinator at your local high school or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau at schulz@ntc.edu.

From jsonline.com: “Milwaukee Housing Authority OKs new technology training center” —The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee announced on Wednesday the creation of a $1.2 million technology training center, the first program to be developed outside the walls of its many public housing projects.

Antonio Perez, executive director of the housing authority, said the new center would be at the Adult Learning Center and would be operated in partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and others.

“We want to use housing as a platform to continue to be relevant to those inside and outside the walls of our housing units,” Perez said at the housing authority’s annual meeting, held under a tent in the parking lot of the Adult Learning Center, 1916 N. 4th St.

The new tech facility, called the Milwaukee iCenter, will be built in space on the second floor of the Adult Learning Center, which leases the building from St. Francis Church across the street. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

The center is financed with a $1.2 million grant that the housing authority received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MATC will provide instruction, case management and tech support services at the center. Job readiness and youth educational activities will be provided by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Milwaukee Public Schools, the housing authority and others.

The center will blend classroom instruction with online advanced courses so that those who use the center can develop and improve their technology skills, prepare for jobs and use the training to potentially continue on to MATC for additional credentials and certifications in the tech industry.

Once completed, the center will be open to adult learners who attend the center, residents of housing authority projects, including nearby Hillside and Lapham Park, and others.

Perez said the housing authority looked for a place to house the tech center and decided instead to team up with the Adult Learning Center, which already teaches adult educational classes and has a staff and corps of an estimated 100 volunteers.

With decreasing federal money, the housing authority needs to leverage the government funds it receives and work with others in the community to provide services, he said.

The Adult Learning Center has been working with adults for 34 years and has helped more than 350 get their GED, said Herb Hayden, director.

“This new iCenter will bridge the technology divide and make adult learners more marketable,” he said of the new partnership with the housing authority.

The Adult Learning Center gets 90% of its money from foundations and private sources, with MATC providing teachers and support, he said.

Cynthia Dalton, 43, told those gathered for the meeting that she first went to the center in 2008 to work on her GED and managed to get it in 2013. But in the process, she got help with a hearing disability and housing, she told those gathered for the meeting.

While she was attending classes at the center, a volunteer noticed her speech and hearing difficulty and suggested she be tested, Hayden said in an interview.

“Since I was about 6 years old I’ve had speech and hearing problems, but I didn’t think they were so bad,” Dalton said.

Audiology tests showed she had about a 70% hearing loss, Hayden said.

“A hearing loss can impact and slow down learning,” he said.

Dalton said, “I was frustrated.”

After the tests and the diagnosis, a center volunteer paid for a hearing aid for Dalton, Hayden said.

“It’s made a huge difference,” she said. “I could hear and understand.”

Dalton said she also encountered homelessness and the center helped her to find shelter and later a place to live.

Today she’s studying at MATC and wants to be a nurse. She’s also learning sign language because she said she hopes to help those with hearing disabilities.

From lacrossetribune.com: “Job training law to help businesses compete globally, Doyle says” — ONALASKA — A law incubated in La Crosse will hatch jobs throughout Wisconsin and enhance Badger State employers’ ability to be global players, said author Rep. Steve Doyle.

The law, which Gov. Scott Walker signed in April and repeated at a ceremonial signing at Crescent Printing Co. in Onalaska Friday, expands Workforce Advancement Training grants to technical colleges.

“Current use of WAT grants is too limited for many businesses to make use of them,” said Doyle, an Onalaska Democrat. “This proposal was designed to help companies compete in new markets by expanding the way these grants can be used.”

Established in 2005, the state-funded WAT grants are administered by the Wisconsin Technical College System, which awards them to the state’s 16 tech schools to train companies’ current employees.

That differentiates them from programs to train new employees and allows businesses to advance their workers’ skills, Walker said.

Roger Bjorge, president of the fourth-generation company Crescent Printing, said, “It’s an opportunity for our employees to take classes to get further training.”

The company, which Bjorge co-owns with Bill Lund, has 45 employees, Bjorge said.

Grants previously were allowed for businesses with no more than 100 employees or $10 million in gross annual income. The new law expands the programs to businesses with up to 250 employees and allows grants to tech schools to help business expand their markets or diversify.

“This diversification will ultimately result in job growth,” Doyle said.

The grants range from $2,500 to $200,000 a company for general businesses and $2,500 to $50,000 for small businesses.

The grants provided about $17.6 million to help hundreds of employers train more than 77,000 workers across the state by the end of fiscal year 2012.

La Crosse economic development professionals helped formulate the law at a roundtable that included representatives of Western Technical College, Workforce Connections, the La Cross Area Chamber of Commerce, the La Crosse Area Development Corp. and other members of the Seven Rivers Alliance, as well as Doyle and Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.

Doyle authored the measure in the Assembly and asked Shilling to sponsor it in the upper chamber, and she enlisted Republican Sen. Joseph Leibham of Sheboygan as primary author, while she became secondary author.

“I give her a lot of credit for getting something done without getting credit,” Doyle said.

The bill passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. Out of 380 bills the Legislature passed this past session, only 31 had Democrats as primary authors.

“Jobs creation is not a partisan issue, and I was happy to work with both sides of the aisle to make sure this bill became law,” Doyle said.

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