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WITC awarded major workforce grant

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The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc., recently announced that Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is one of five Wisconsin technical colleges that will share $3.8 million as recipients of its Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grants.

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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.

"We feel honored to be recognized by the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation as one of six projects being grant funded to address the skills gap for local employers," said Charlie Glazman, WITC associate dean of continuing education. "The Associate Degree Program in Composite Technology Technician that WITC is proposing with this grant will be the first in the State of Wisconsin."

WITC's $602,400 grant will be used in a partnership with Kestrel Aircraft to create a first-of-its-kind training program in Wisconsin. The associate degree in composite technology program will address the need for qualified aircraft fabrication workers.

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.

"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.

Other Wisconsin technical colleges awarded grants includes Gateway Technical College, Moraine Park Technical College, Nicolet Area Technical College and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College.

Celebrating 100 years in 2012, WITC serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents of Northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, WITC offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized business training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment.

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