Kohl tours Superior Steel
The Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program's welding boot camp pilot was a success. All 20 students who participated in the program this summer completed the course and received multiple welding certifications. Three weeks after the ...
The Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program's welding boot camp pilot was a success.
All 20 students who participated in the program this summer completed the course and received multiple welding certifications. Three weeks after the program's end, four already have jobs lined up, said Steve Terry, executive director of Northwest Wisconsin CEP.
Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College's Superior campus offered the five-week boot camp this July to provide some workers with the basic skills they need to get a job offering on-site training or continue their education through a union apprenticeship program.
The organizations will offer three follow up camps through a $250,000 Department of Labor grant the CEP received through Sen. Herb Kohl's, D-Wis., appropriation's committee.
Kohl was in town Wednesday afternoon to help announce the additional boot camps, which CEP and WITC are planning to offer in Superior this winter and in Superior and Ashland next summer, Terry said.
Private and public institutions need to work together to build a strong economy. It's the government's role to be helpful, Kohl said.
"To often people get fed up and sick of government because they see their tax dollars going out and nothing coming in," he said. This welding program is putting their tax dollars to work to achieve a public good.
CEP serves anyone looking for a job living in a 10-county northwestern Wisconsin area. Many of the people who come to CEP are laid-off, unemployed, underemployed or looking to get training for a skilled position. They are often anyone from youths right out of high school, to veterans, disabled individuals, people leaving incarceration or dislocated workers. About 70 people expressed an interest in the boot camp program, but because of space CEP had to choose the 20 who would fit best with the program, Terry said.
CEP won't have any troubles filling the three additional camps, he said.
"I think we're really pleased with it," Terry said.
The class was a success because it was well taught and students helped one another to learn, said Gary Burgdorf, program participant.
Although he had no welding experience before taking the job, he's already gotten a job with Jeff Foster. He participated in the course to get away from working odd jobs. "I actually wanted to have a career instead of a job," he said.
Another student, Colin Payton, is already working at Superior Steel using some of his previous skills in drafting.
Although he's not welding, he said the program opened the door for him at Superior Steel.
"I liked it. It helped me add on to my skills to get into another line of work," he said.
The boot camps come at a time of great interest in welding among both employers and workers in the Northland.
WITC's regular one-year welding program is already full for the 2008-2009 school year.
This program will allow displaced workers and young people to stay in this area and have well paying jobs, said Rusty Hoglund, of Superior Steel.
Hoglund has already hired one of the program's students and is looking to hire more in the coming weeks, he said.
"My employees are happy. I'm happy," he said.
All 20 workers will need on-the-job training or additional education to become fully experienced welders.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Bootcamp Welding program may call the Superior CEP office at 392-6081.
Call Anna Kurth at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail akurth@