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DWD logo

Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

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

April 5, 2022
CONTACT: DWD Communications

DWD Announces Technical Education Equipment Grants

Over $440,000 to 15 School Districts for High Tech Labs to train 2,800

MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced the award of $440,000 in Technical Education Equipment Grants to 15 school districts to help the districts purchase high tech equipment and train as many as 2,800 students each year for careers in advanced manufacturing.

"Technical education develops the workforce skills that are critical for Wisconsin's growing manufacturing sector and thriving economy,” said Gov. Tony Evers. "From plasma tables to robotic arms, these Fast Forward educational equipment grants help provide our kids the tools, resources, and training to be successful and career-ready across Wisconsin."

The Technical Education Equipment funding is part of DWD's Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative to help employers meet immediate and future workforce needs. To qualify, a school district must provide matching funds at rate of two to one. With this latest round of grants, the combined state and local funding for tech ed equipment exceeds $1.3 million.

The grants help schools equip Fabrication Labs with CNC (computer numerical control) augers, lathes, mills, routers, and water jet cutters; also, robotic arms and PLC (programmable logic control) computers to operate them and other machines. The list of items for school Fab Labs includes 3D metal printers and an array of welding equipment.

"All of this high-tech hardware represents a major investment in eager and enthusiastic students who are our workforce of tomorrow," said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. "With this added equipment, we're excited to support this next generation of workers as they prepare for rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing. The companies they work for, the communities they live in and the whole state will reap benefits from the skills they learn through early access to this equipment."

Job opportunities in Wisconsin's advanced manufacturing sector continue to grow across the board. According to employment projections by DWD's Bureau of Workforce Information and Technical Supports, welders are in great demand with openings of 1,800 a year projected through 2028. The starting annual salary for welders is $32,240, increasing to $58,260 for senior welders with the most experience.

Other top occupations include CNC programmers, starting at $35,540 a year and nearly double for the most experienced, $69,800. Also in great demand are production supervisors, starting at nearly $37,600 and increasing to almost $88,000 a year for the most experienced.

In this latest round of grants, the school districts, their awards, and new equipment are:

Arrowhead Union High School District - DWD issued a grant of $50,000.

Augusta Area School District - DWD issued a grant of $50,000.

Bowler School District - DWD issued a grant of $50,000.

Delavan-Darien School District - DWD issued a grant of $31,535.

Fort Atkinson School District - DWD issued a grant of $18,940.

Lodi School District - DWD issued a grant of $5,000.

Luxemburg-Casco School District - DWD issued a grant of $25,000.

Mosinee School District - DWD issued a grant of $50,000.

Nekoosa - DWD issued a grant of $34,870.

Seymour Community School District - DWD issued a grant of $50,000.

Two Rivers Public School District - DWD issued a grant of $14,020.

Waterford Union High School District - DWD issued a grant of $15,160.

Wausau Area School District - DWD issued a grant of $31,460.

West Bend School District Number 1 - DWD issued a grant of $6,700.

Winneconne Community School District - DWD issued a grant of $10,000.

Learn more about Wisconsin Fast Forward.


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.