‘The best holiday present’
$4.5M fundraising goal met for WCTC manufacturing center

By Lauren Anderson - Freeman Staff

Dec. 10, 2014

A rendering of the upcoming Waukesha County Technical College
Integrated Manufacturing Center. 

Submitted art

PEWAUKEE - The Waukesha County Technical College Foundation has raised the money needed to build a proposed $4.5 million Integrated Manufacturing Center, concluding  a months-long fundraising effort.

News of the successful campaign came by way of a robot in a surprise announcement at a WCTC District Board meeting Tuesday.

Board Chair Pauline Jaske read a note delivered by a robot named Metallica that had been programmed by WCTC students. With the center now soon to become reality, the note said Jaske could expect to see more of the robot’s relatives in the future.

“I know our students will be thankful and employers too,” Jaske said.

School of Applied Technologies Dean Mike Shiels attributed the success to the generosity of area manufacturers.

“The amount of support that the manufacturers had for this project was just overwhelming and that just really speaks to the gratitude that they have for the way that we train our students for them and giving them the opportunity to grow their businesses,” Shiels said.

Waukesha County Technical College District Board Chair Pauline Jaske and Dean of the School of Applied Technologies Mike Shiels watch as a robot hands them a letter announcing that WCTC had met the fundraising goal to build the Integrated Manufacturing Center during a board meeting Tuesday evening.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Fundraising efforts began this earlier this year. They were helped when an anonymous donor pledged in August to give $1 million to the new center if the foundation could raise an additional $2 million in private funds.

With the $2 million now secured, WCTC Foundation President Ellen Phillips said the foundation will receive the anonymous donation. The college plans to spend $1.5 million on the project.

The 24,000 square-foot center will  allow the school to double  enrollment capacity in its industrial maintenance and automation programs, Shiels said.  Students who complete those programs are prepared for high-in-demand manufacturing jobs, he said.

“These are great fields with great career paths for our students to be going into,” Shiels said. “The industrial maintenance technician program is a very high-demand program. Those are the people that keep the equipment on the manufacturing floors up and running and they are very key to the profitability of companies.”

Waukesha County Technical College District Board Chair Pauline Jaske reads a letter announcing that WCTC had met the fundraising goal to build the Integrated Manufacturing Center during a board meeting Tuesday evening. The letter was delivered by a robotic arm.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Shiels said local manufactures were willing to support the new center because it will prepare future workers for their field.

“These business owners are great stewards of their finances and they see this as an excellent return on their investment,” he said.

WCTC Interim President Kaylen Betzig thanked the foundation and area manufacturers for their support.

“It’s the best holiday present we could give for our students,” she said.

www.wctc.edu

Email: landerson@conleynet.com