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Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee
Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Visit coincides with Gov. Evers proclaiming October as Manufacturing Month
MENOMONIE – Thanks to Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grants from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Menomonie School District's student enrollment in technical education classes has expanded for a third straight year to over 320 students.
Grant funds totaling $14,250 were used to purchase a Haas CNC Milling Machine, a standard piece of advanced manufacturing equipment found on many manufacturing floors. This technology has increased course offerings in the district, and expanded youth apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities with local manufacturing employers.
DWD Deputy Secretary Pam McGillivray visited Menomonie High School to see the new technology provided through a DWD-funded Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grant.
"Manufacturing is the backbone of Wisconsin's economy, employing approximately 475,000 Wisconsinites earning an average annual wage of $64,000 in 2021. DWD is focused on continued growth by preparing the workforce employers need through partnerships with educational institutions. Through innovative programming and collaborations, we are laying the groundwork for skills that put individuals on the path to family-supporting jobs in high-demand industries," McGillivray said.
Technical Education Equipment Grants reimburse school districts for the purchase and installation costs of technical education equipment used in vocational training and technical education in advanced manufacturing fields, including costs for equipment operation software and instructional materials. The grant program helps students transition from high school into the workforce by supporting technical education and reduces higher education costs by providing dual enrollment credits, industry-endorsed certificates, and technical endorsements on high school diplomas.
"To me [exposure] is key, we are not going to create everybody to be a welder, fabricator, machinist, engineer, but if we can't expose it to them, they don't know," said Kenny Skar, owner of local manufacturing employer Vincent Tool, and a member of Chippewa Valley Technical College's Machine Tool Advisory Committee.
To further expand the impact of the program, DWD recently announced the availability of a new round of grants and is encouraging school districts across Wisconsin to apply for up to $50,000 in funding to purchase technical education equipment. A total of $700,000 is available and applications are due by 3 p.m. CST on Dec. 8, 2022.
For additional information, or to download an application, please consult the Grant Program Announcement and related grant program materials on the Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants website.
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.