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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

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
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Thursday, October 15, 2015
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

DWD Deputy Secretary Maxwell Joins High School Students for Manufacturing Month at Gateway Technical College's Elkhorn Campus

ELKHORN – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell joined juniors and seniors from Whitewater, Badger and Big Foot high schools for a visit to Gateway Technical College's Elkhorn campus during Manufacturing Month.

"Manufacturing Month provides an opportunity to introduce students to the good-paying and rewarding careers that this industry offers," Deputy Secretary Maxwell said. "We encourage students, educators, parents and other stakeholders to visit local manufacturing businesses and see the high-tech, advanced and challenging work being done by today's manufacturers."

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed October 2015 as Manufacturing Month throughout the state to celebrate Wisconsin's manufacturing industry and to showcase the many opportunities for high-quality careers available to those who work in the state's largest economic sector.

During Manufacturing Month, Wisconsin manufacturing businesses, technical colleges, and other partners are encouraged to open their doors for tours, open houses and other events designed to showcase the great career opportunities that are available to individuals in manufacturing.

Approximately 60 students spent the morning touring multiple Walworth County manufacturers and came together for lunch at Gateway in Elkhorn where they heard from Deputy Secretary Maxwell about the benefits of a manufacturing career in Wisconsin. Students also heard from Gateway's New Student Coordinator about the different pathways into a manufacturing career, including the benefits of getting involved in programs such as Youth Apprenticeship.

Wisconsin offers a variety of workforce training programs like Youth Apprenticeship aimed at building in-demand skills for high-school students. In the 2014–15 school year, Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program has 617 students enrolled in manufacturing-related programs. These programs combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training that enables a student to graduate high school with the skills needed for an entry-level job in manufacturing.

The average pay for a manufacturing worker in Wisconsin is $54,400 per year, 24% more than the average of $43,700 per year for all private-sector workers. Approximately 9,200 Wisconsin manufacturing employers employ more than 462,000 workers producing more than $55 billion worth of economic output as of December 2014.

Today's event also celebrated October as Disability Employment Awareness Month, proclaimed by the Governor to bring awareness to the benefits of hiring disabled workers.

Today's tours were organized in part by DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) as many of the business tours take place at manufactures who have partnered with DVR to hire people with disabilities.

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