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Corporate Training Options Abound – And Come in All Shapes and Sizes

If you’re struggling to retain staff or your productivity could use a lift, consider employee training – and consider the Wisconsin Technical College System for efficient and effective training on nearly any topic. With 16 colleges and 50 campus locations, plus industry-grown and invested instructors throughout the system, odds are you can find what you need between our district boundaries or online.

Mid-State Technical College’s Workforce and Economic Development Division acknowledges that despite improving employment numbers, Wisconsin is still experiencing skilled worker shortages. However, Mid-State is one of 14 Workforce Innovation grantees that received funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to help combat the workforce shortage. Part of the WEDC funding will go toward the completion of a new Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship (AMETA) facility at Mid-State.

The facility will help develop skills in new technologies, including the nationally recognized Certified Production Technician training and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Many of which feature automation and internet connectivity. In addition to the high-tech training, the college provides soft skills training as well. These courses may include specific modules on items like clear communications, effective listening, emotional intelligence, remaining positive, conflict management, customer service, critical thinking/problem solving, adapting to change, time management and teamwork.

Many of Mid-State’s training courses fall into one of three categories: leadership and talent development including leadership and mentoring, change management, supervision skills, team building and more; safety training including CPR/first aid/AED training, hazardous materials, emergency response planning, OSHA and Active shooter training; andtechnical training featuring branded or customized training in Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft products, Welding and Welding Certification, CNC basics, etc. Coincidentally, the college also offers Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP) Certification prep courses for individuals in Human Resources who want the industry standard certification.

Of course, traditional apprenticeships remain very effective and popular ways for employers to sponsor training for very high-skill positions. Another interesting approach Mid-State offers is “Sponsor a Scholar” benefit, where employers can pay toward an employee’s degree and keep them on payroll for a skilled position using the skills learned. One employer, Tom Radenz, Owner and Senior Consultant of REI Engineering in Wausau, said the program “helps talented students discover the great jobs available right here at home and ensures we’re able to hire the skilled technicians we need.”

Cookie cutter or proprietary solutions are often not enough for employers whose needs vary with their employees. Chances are the technical colleges can provide a branded or custom-built solution, which is often the most valuable. In addition to improving productivity, efficiency and safety, employee retention is another tremendous benefit to employee training, especially since the labor market continues to experience record retirements and recruitment is a costly prospect compared to training.

Todd Kuckkahn, a Mid-State Technical College instructor, coach and consultant, says a new employer model for success includes developing employee “Intrapreneurs,” or staff who directly impact the company’s success through their desire to innovate and lead, in the same way an entrepreneur might, but without the long-hours, risk-taking and nearly constant financial pressures entrepreneurs experience. Kuckkahn says intrapreneurs are employees who impact the workplace culture – they  can be passionate, a self-starter, confident leader,an influencer, eager to learn, and an original thinker. Kuckkahn distinguishes companies who invest in and focus on building up people for the benefit of the company as opposed to building up walls.

For any sort of training, all employers should inquire with their local technical college about Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) grants, available to Wisconsin businesses to improve productivity and safety while supporting Wisconsin’s economic development. The Wisconsin Technical College System administers these grants, but the colleges can help determine the employer’s needs and apply on their behalf.

For more information or to connect with your local technical college, visit wtcsystem.edu/workforce-solutions/.

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