Manufacturing education gets a boost from the federal governmentWisconsin’s tech schools will be bolstering their manufacturing programs and outreach to young, prospective students, with a new grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
By: Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin’s tech schools will be bolstering their manufacturing programs and outreach to young, prospective students, with a new grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Wisconsin Technical College System will spend more than $1-million over four years, to further what's called the Advanced Manufacturing Pathway initiative.
Executive director Morna Foy says this includes developing a “revolving door” system that’ll let graduates frequently return to upgrade their skills. Foy says another goal is to get more young people prepped for a lifelong manufacturing career. She says the grant will allow technical colleges to reach down into the high school – and even the middle school level – to get students interested in fields related to manufacturing.
Foy says manufacturing is vital to Wisconsin’s economy, but suffers from a lack of interest among young students. Even those who want manufacturing jobs may not be thinking well enough ahead.
“People have this vision that, `My dad worked in a plant and my mom worked in a plant, all I have to do is graduate from high school and I’m ready to go,” says Foy. “And that’s just not the case anymore. It’s important that students take the rigorous math and science to be successful, while they’re still in high school.”
The grant will also help develop a curriculum that lets students do full-time work while earning degrees.
The model created at Wisconsin’s 16 technical schools may eventually be used in other states with heavy manufacturing sectors.