Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784

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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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Wisconsin Workforce, Economic Development Leaders Salute First Graduates of Dual Enrollment Academy at Waukesha County Technical College

Collaborative effort gives high school students with skills, head start on career paths

WAUKESHA – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Chief Executive Officer Reed Hall extended their congratulations Tuesday evening to the first graduates of a Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) pilot that prepares high school students for family supporting jobs and helps private sector employers in search of skilled workers.

"Today we celebrate the first graduates of a program that gives high school students a head start on career paths to demand occupations," Secretary Newson said. "The WCTC dual enrollment academy offers an opportunity for students to complete high school, earn technical college credits, gain work experience and position themselves for permanent employment through the employer sponsors of the program. In addition, such worked-based learning opportunities provide immediate relief for private sector employers facing a skills gap."

WEDC CEO Hall said, "We congratulate the students for being the first to complete this innovative program and we look forward to their continued success as they enter the workforce. The Dual Enrollment Academy is an outstanding example of what can be done through strong partnerships. In this case, state agencies, the technological college system, local school districts and the industry all came together to work with students to help them develop the kind of skills that are in high demand by employers."

Under Governor Walker's leadership, DWD and WEDC contributed $77,576 to help fund the academy. Governor Walker visited the WCTC campus last fall to launch the pilot.

At a graduation ceremony Tuesday evening, Scott Jansen, Director of the DWD Office of Skills Development and Administrator of the DWD Division of Employment and Training, congratulated the graduates on behalf of Secretary Newson. Speaking on behalf of WEDC Chief Executive Officer Hall was Stephanie Walker, WEDC's Corporation Chief Financial Officer.

WCTC Vice President of Learning Denine Rood said the pilot and successful graduates show what can be achieved with strong partnerships and talented, hardworking students.

"These students are to be congratulated for making the most of their senior year of high school," she said. "They are now ready for immediate employment in high-demand occupations with the option to pursue further education at WCTC and continue their career pathway. We're already looking forward to next year's Dual Enrollment Academy, which will offer students a new option in Printing and Publishing."

Over 30 graduates received an industry recognized "workplace certificate" in one of three high-demand program cohorts: Tool & Die/CNC, Welding/Fabrication, and IT-Networking. The graduation in Pewaukee, with graduates from eight collaborating school districts including Waukesha, Arrowhead, Elmbrook, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Sussex, West Allis, and Light House Academy (a local homeschool), is the latest example of the Governor's successful initiative to reduce the skills gap and to strengthen Wisconsin's economy.

DWD is partnering with DPI, K-12 superintendents, school counselors and educators to support career pathway programming and career exploration opportunities. It also offers a youth apprenticeship program which connects employers with K-12 school districts to provide students with work based experience and employer recognized credentials.

With the pilot underway, Governor Walker expanded on his Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative earlier this year, offering a Blueprint for Prosperity that included funding for more dual enrollment programs. Under new Blueprint for Prosperity, 30 grant applicants were recently awarded more than $2.1M to support additional high school pupil worker training programs. WCTC was awarded funding to continue the dual enrollment academy for the 2014-15 school year.

For more about the Dual Enrollment Academy program:

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