SOURCE: Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc.

Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc.

July 17, 2012 14:20 ET

Wisconsin Covenant Foundation Awards Workforce Partnership Grants

$3.8 Million in Private Funds Invested in Connecting Postsecondary Education to Wisconsin's Employment Needs

MADISON, WI--(Marketwire - Jul 17, 2012) - The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc. announced today that five Wisconsin technical colleges will share $3.8 million as recipients of its Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grants. These colleges will use the grants to provide the specific training necessary to help fill available jobs at partner businesses with advanced manufacturing needs. Through real-world training, students will earn a meaningful degree, diploma, or certificate, leading to job placement in family-sustaining occupations.

Six programs will receive funding through this grant opportunity. Each program represents a partnership between the technical college and one or more Wisconsin businesses for the joint development or expansion of an advanced manufacturing degree or certification program. Funds will be used to support the significant investment in equipment, supplies, and specialized instruction that colleges must make to provide training in this area. These grants allow the colleges to make those investments, informed by partner businesses that will take a hands-on role in the development of program design and curricula. Through these collaborations, students will benefit most -- earning an education that they can not only use at a partner business, but take with them into their future.

The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, a private, non-profit organization, created this pilot grant to address the gap between Wisconsin's workforce needs and its available workers. Currently, "middle-skill" occupations, or those positions that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree, represent 50 percent of Wisconsin's workforce needs, with advanced manufacturing occupations among the fastest growing. Meanwhile, only 39 percent of Wisconsin residents between the ages of 25 and 64 meet these education criteria.

"The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation is committed to ensuring that postsecondary education prepares students for immediate employment, while creating a stronger connection between that education and employers," said Foundation Chair Richard D. George. "When capacity to provide the right skillset to workers is increased at the technical college level, the result is more well-trained workers prepared for on-the-job success. It's a win-win for Wisconsin -- our families and our workforce."

The number of program completers and resulting job placements achieved during the three-year grant period will be used to determine the impact of fostering mutually-beneficial relationships between higher education and private industry, to better understand what makes a partnership successful. "Our expectation is that a program like this, because of the public-private collaboration involved, will pay dividends to the state long after the pilot ends," added George.

Following is a list of technical colleges that will receive grants, along with businesses that will partner with them for program development.

Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant Recipients

Gateway Technical College
DeltaHawk Engines, Inc.
DeltaHawk, a designer and manufacturer of engines for the aviation market, is planning to hire over 100 new assemblers and technicians with skills related to aviation, over the next three to five years. They will be partnering with Gateway to create a new 30-week Diesel Aviation Manufacturing Certificate to help meet these employment needs, using this $644,592 grant.

Moraine Park Technical College
Amerequip Corporation, Brenner Tank LLC, John Crane Orion, Mid-States Aluminum Corporation
Grant funds of $705,647 will establish Manufacturing Skills Academies for both machine operation and welding training in a 15-week bootcamp format, training 15 students in each cohort. This training will result in either an Entry Level Welding Certificate or Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator Certificate, with options for the student to connect to additional diplomas and certificates.

Nicolet Area Technical College
Foster & Smith, Inc., HyPro Inc., Packaging Corporation of America-Tomahawk Mill, Printpack, Inc., Wausau Paper Corporation-Rhinelander Mill
This $750,000 grant will allow Nicolet to offer an Industrial Maintenance Certificate that connects to additional one-semester, one-year, and two-year training programs to fill partner business needs for maintenance mechanics and technicians in their advanced manufacturing operations.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
3M, Cabela's Wholesale Inc., Design Homes, Inc., Dillman Equipment, Miniature Precision Components, Inc.
With this $415,775 grant, Southwest Tech will offer a 160-hour "Gold Collar Certification" program, including national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certification, to increase training of entry level production workers at partner businesses.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
Building Automation Products, Inc., Lactalis American Group, Meister Dairy, Miniature Precision Components, Inc., Rockwell Automation, Spectrum Brands
This $642,661 grant will allow Southwest Tech to purchase equipment and fund instructors to train students as electromechanical technicians, expanding the capacity of their Applied Associate Degree program by 50 percent.

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Kestrel Aircraft Company
Kestrel Aircraft is partnering with Wisconsin Indianhead to create the first-of-its-kind training program in Wisconsin, an Associate Degree in Composite Technology, to address the need for qualified aircraft fabrication workers. This program has been awarded a $602,400 grant.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation's commitment to forging private and public partnerships in support of postsecondary education, please contact Amy Kerwin at 608-246-1785.

About the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc.
A private, non-profit organization, the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc., seeks to foster coordinated public and private investments in postsecondary education, increasingly a requirement for family-sustaining occupations. The Foundation was created in 2007 with a $40 million lead gift from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates. Initiatives include helping disadvantaged Wisconsin Covenant Scholars pay for education beyond high school and strengthening the connection between Wisconsin's technical colleges and employers.

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