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In today’s climate, partnerships with technical colleges are more crucial than ever
For over 100 years, Wisconsin’s technical colleges have been working with local employers and adapting to meet their changing needs. In today’s climate, with a shortage of skilled workers across a number of industries, these types of partnerships between employers and technical colleges are more crucial than ever.
By working together, students are being trained with the necessary skill sets to help keep Wisconsin’s companies going strong now and in the future. 
Manufacturing company saw need to get creative

Wisconsin Oven, an industrial oven manufacturer located in East Troy, was facing a need for skilled workers that had been impeding the company’s growth.

The company’s president and CEO, David Strand, had an idea for an innovative solution to help recruit the next generation of skilled trades workers — he just needed some assistance from the experts Gateway Technical College to make it happen.
In conjunction with Gateway, they created WOC U: Wisconsin Oven Universal Training Center, a formal training program where students can earn while they learn. As part of the training, students learn welding and mechanical assembly skills on-site at Wisconsin Oven while earning a $10/hour wage. “We pay their wages, we pay for their first semester of a Gateway degree and hope it’s an incentive enough for them to apply to Wisconsin Oven and get hired,” Strand explained in a press release. “They can continue with their degree, too.”
The training center has helped create a pipeline of skilled workers that Strand, who is a graduate of Gateway, hopes to continue for generations to come. “The fact that I was a student at a technical college, I know firsthand what the training can do,” he says. Strand hopes to attract high school graduates, unemployed, underemployed workers or those looking for a career change.
Working to meet your company’s needs

Wisconsin’s technical colleges have ties to employers in every sector and geographic region. From manufacturing to healthcare and everything in-between, the colleges’ instructors are certified and have both academic and real-world career experiences. They will work with your organization to address your individual needs and create customized options, including:
  • Training provided either on- or off-site
  • Flexible training times to work with your schedule
  • Online and hybrid learning
Companies with limited financial resources should keep in mind “customized” training doesn’t have to mean “expensive” training. “Customized training can actually save companies money because only the exact skills and competencies needed by the business are taught so the total length of the training can be shorter, thus saving them money,“ says Matthew Janisin, Vice President, Business and Workforce Solutions, Gateway.
Janisin adds there are ways for companies to reduce customized training costs. “Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) Grants are a great way for businesses to partner with their local technical college and get money to help offset the cost of training employees,” he explains. “The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and its Fast Forward program is another grant option for a business to obtain training dollars.”
Wisconsin Oven is just one example of these successful partnerships with proven results. According to a recent survey conducted by WTCS in August 2018, 98% of employers say their local technical college is important to the overall success of their business.
For generations, these relationships have helped support the viability of companies, like yours, that are the backbone of our economy — and they will be essential as we move forward. “A close relationship with the academic programs and related instructors is the natural pipeline for future skilled workers,” says Janisin.
For information on how our colleges can help you, contact the Customized and Continuing Education division at your local technical college.
Wisconsin's 16 technical colleges serve every community in Wisconsin, providing learning opportunities close to home. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers more than 500 programs, awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas, and short-term technical diplomas and certificates. The colleges also provide customized business solutions that help employers ensure a skilled incumbent workforce ready to improve processes or incorporate new technology. Visit www.wistechcolleges.org to explore all the benefits Wisconsin’s technical colleges have to offer.
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