$1.7 million grant slashes wait lists for popular WCTC programs
Kleefisch presents award to tech college

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

July 24, 2014

 Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies at Waukesha County Technical College, welcomes Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch Wednesday morning.  Kleefisch was at WCTC to present the college with a $1.7 million grant through the Department of Workforce Development Wisconsin Fast Forward program, to reduce waiting lists for programs training workers to fill careers where there are large numbers of unfilled jobs.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

PEWAUKEE - Waukesha County Technical College will now be able to slash wait lists and offer more class sections, thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch was on hand at WCTC’s Industrial building Wednesday to present the technical college with a $1.7 million award, which will be used to help train students for high-demand positions.

“There is a skills gap in Wisconsin and WCTC seeks every day to build a bridge over that skills gap - today you have some construction money,” Kleefisch said. “It is through investments like these that Wisconsin will address the skills gap today and in the years to come.”

The Fast Forward program is part of the Blueprint for Prosperity initiative which Gov. Scott Walker signed into law last year. In total, $35.4 million will be allocated by Fast Forward into worker training programs focusing on reducing wait lists, collaborative projects between high schools and colleges, and enhancing employment opportunities for disabled workers.

 Students practice welding in the welding lab at Waukesha County Technical College Wednesday. The school received a $1.7 million grant to help reduce waiting lists for programs like welding, where there are more jobs than qualified applicants.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

“These grant dollars will significantly impact the journey of our students pursuing high-demand programs ... and in turn benefit our local economy,” WCTC Interim President Kaylen Betzig said. “We are pleased and honored that the governor recognizes WCTC’s work as an important and valuable investment.”

The grant will be administered by the Department of Workforce Development and will go toward training as many as 168 students in the fields of welding, computer numerical control (CNC), transportation and early childhood education.

Betzig said that the funds will not only permit more students to enter these high-demand programs, but will also go toward hiring more professors and purchasing more supplies and equipment for student use.

“It is huge,” she said. “We have lots of programs - yes we can shift money - but other programs have needs too. It takes resources in order to do this and it takes resources in order to expand and offer more sections so we can get more people into the funnel.”

www.wctc.edu

Email: mmasterson@conleynet.com