DWD Deputy Secretary
Jonathan Barry (center) looks over a curved stairlift - the
signature product of Bruno Independent Living Aids - along
with Bruno Manufacturing Plant Manager Alan Karch (right)
and Vice President of Operations Tom Jacobson.
OCONOMOWOC - Two new grants made to Oconomowoc-based
manufacturers seek to give high schoolers a head start
in trade work while also cutting down the perceived
“skills gap” in Wisconsin.
state’s Department of Workforce Development announced a
$128,344 high school pupil grant to Bruno Independent
Living Aids for its metal fabrication/welding Dual
Enrollment program on Friday. Another $120,100 grant was
made to CL&D Graphics for its printing and packaging
Dual Enrollment program.
grants are two of 30 that the DWD announced recently as
part of the “Blueprint for Prosperity” initiative signed
into law by Gov. Scott Walker. Both will help support
the training of high school students in partnership with
Waukesha County Technical College, local school
districts and other local businesses.
is excited to be a partner in WCTC’s Dual Enrollment
Academy that allows high school seniors to receive
training in metal fabrication and welding,” Bruno Vice
President of Operations Tom Jacobson said. “By having
high schools, technical colleges and businesses work
together, manufacturers can ensure a pipeline of skilled
workers for Wisconsin’s future.”
Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry, who toured both
facilities Friday, said the dual enrollment programs
allows high school seniors to complete their final year
of school in local technical colleges. He said students
do less than one-third of their work at their actual
high schools, while spending the rest of their time
either in the tech school or working in a related
idea is to upgrade the skills of these young people
while they continue to get their high school diploma,”
time they are finished with the program, they have more
than two-thirds of a year in technical college
completed, at no cost.
said the program is different than traditional economic
development - in which grants are given directly to
businesses - and instead focuses on making an
“investment in people.” Of the $35 million put into the
“Blueprint” program, Barry said approximately $25
million goes to the technical colleges to help cut down
wait lists and add sections in high-demand areas.
Novack, associate dean of the school of applied
technologies at WCTC, said the program has allowed high
school seniors to develop the necessary skills to enter
the workforce right after graduation.
students are taking our classes, with our instructors,
doing our curriculum and they are earning our credits,”
he said. “I think it is a great opportunity for these
kids - any kids who want to get into a trade.”